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TORIES OF WA 

TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



COLLECTED AND EDITED 

By EDWARD E. HALE. 




BOSTON: 
ROBERTS BROTHERS. 
1880. 



Copyright, 1879, 
By Roberts Brothers. 



University Press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



CONTENTS. 



Page 

I. Introduction. — Life at Little Crastis . 1 
II. The First Bull Run . . . 6 

III. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson .... 21 

IV. General McClellan and the Peninsula. 

— West Virginia 30 

V. Antietam 61 

VI. Pittsburg Landing ......... 74 

VII. Vicksburg 92 

VIII. Gettysburg 119 

IX. Chickamauga and Chattanooga .... 150 

X. Grant's Advance on Richmond. — The 

Wilderness. — Sheridan's Ride . . . 168 

XL Sherman's Great March .188 

XII. Nashville 216 

XIII. Siege of Richmond. — The Last Week . 226 

XIV. The End .261 



STORIES OF THE WAR TOLD 
BY SOLDIERS. 



CHAPTER L 

LIFE AT LITTLE CRASTIS. 

TT was the third day of a sour northeast storm. 

Colonel Ingham had a great party of nephews 
and nieces, and of his old correspondents and of 
their friends, — all young people, — on a crazy, 
rollicking visit at his country-house at Little 
Crastis. 

In pleasant weather they all fared very well, — 
for they were all out of doors. Many of the boys 
and girls were none too big to pick berries. None 
were so small but they could be trusted in the 
boats, of which there were five, on the ponds, 
of which there were six, within an hour's walk. 
For the bigger boys and girls there was a cata- 
maran, in which they could make voyages on 
the ocean. There were plover and yellow-legs, 
and thirty-one other varieties of sea-birds for the 
boys who liked to shoot. There were little glens 
innumerable, ruins of old barns, queer wrecks of 
old apple-trees, for girls or boys who wanted to 

i • -<r 



2 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS 



make sketches. There were perch, pickerel, and 
bass for those who liked to fish. There were clethra, 
and clematis, and coreopsis rosea, and all the rest 
of the alphabet for those who liked to botanize. 
There were two tents for those who liked to camp 
out. There were bows and arrows and targets, and 
croquet-balls and mallets and hoops, and rackets 
and nets, and crosses for Lacrosse, and battledores 
and shuttlecocks, for those who wanted to play 
games ; there were saddles and horses and ponies 
for those who wanted to ride. But all such amuse- 
ments, vocations, and avocations fail in a sour north- 
east storm ; — and here were there fifteen young 
people cooped up in-doors, exhausting the in-door 
occupations. 

u Dear Uncle Fritz," said Horace, — for they all 
called him uncle, — " what can I read? " 

" Read, boy! " said the old gentleman, " there is 
plenty of reading " ; — and he kicked open the door 
of his own den. 

The boy looked in ruefully, but did not pretend 
to enter. " O, you know, uncle, that there's 
nothing there. Walter told me how you shipped 
all those things down here because there was no 
room for them in C. Street. Who ever read a 
Congressional document?" 

" I have read a good many, Master Horace," said 
the Colonel, laughing ; " and you will read a good 
many before you have done. It is all in knowing 
how, ray dear boy." 



LIFE AT LITTLE CRASTIS. 



3 



" Well, who ever read a bound-up file of old 
newspapers, Colonel Ingham ? " asked Florence, 
who had rallied to Horace's assistance as soon as 
she saw that the Colonel was willing to talk. 

" All people of sense read them a great deal," 
said the Colonel, still laughing. " Now look here, 
children all," he said, "you were at me, only last 
night, to tell you stories of my only battle, — the 
famous action of the Point of Rocks, — in which 
nobody was killed and nobody was wounded, 
though we burned up thirty tons of powder. But 
you would be more glad to have General Grant 
walk in yonder, with Sherman on one side and 
Sheridan on the other, and tell you about Vicks- 
burg and Shiloh and Sheridan's ride." 

"I am afraid we should, Uncle Fritz," said Hor- 
ace, bravely. 

" Very good. You would be fools if not. Now, 
in those much despised documents yonder, Master 
Horace, arid in those abominated newspapers, Miss 
Florence, and beneath that pile of dust in the 
corner, Master Stephen, are Grant's stories and 
Sherman's and Sheridan's, as they told them all 
hot from fight, all mad with defeat, or happy in 
victory. All that is needed is a boy of sense or 
a girl of sense to know where to look for them." 

" And a real good-natured old Uncle Fritz, with 
nothing to do but to pet a good-for-nothing set 
of boys and girls," said Florence, coaxing him 
and kissing him, " and willing to show those 



4 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



stupid boys and girls where to dig in the dust, 
and how." 

'•That's true enough," said the old gentleman, 
willing to own that he was flattered : M for even 
I will own that there is more chaff to the wheat in 
those same newspapers and documents than there 
is in any other threshing-floor or mill-hopper in 
the world. " 

So it happened that these three young folks, 
with more or less help from three others, whose 
names will appear as we go on, fell foul of the heap 
of straw, chaff, and wheat in the inner den. The 
Colonel led the way loyally. He made them put 
in marks, red, yellow, and blue, when they found 
a good dramatic narrative that was worth reading 
aloud. 

There is a sort of fascination about it when you 
are once started. And before long, even in that first 
afternoon, five or six of the young people were at 
work in or near the den. Those who read from 
bound-up volumes of newspapers preferred on the 
whole to lie nearly at full length on the floor with 
the book, or M quarry," as Horace would call it, 
open before them, or " in a measure," as he said, 
under them. The others had attitudes more or 
less elegant, and, in all cases, comfortable, for such 
was the rule at Little Crastis. At first they began 
to read aloud little scraps as they lighted on them, 
and found them too exciting to be enjoyed alone. 



LIFE AT LITTLE CRASTIS. 



5 



But it soon proved that such reading only interests 
the reader. Uncle Fritz advised them soon to mark 
with red pencils, which he provided, what was worth 
reading, and wait till they found fit audience, who 
really wanted to hear. And this they did. 

And so it happened that on that very evening 
there began a series of readings aloud from the 
grimiest and stupidest-looking old volumes of doc- 
uments and newspapers, — readings which were 
quite largely attended from the little company of 
visitors. While, in the red parlor, there went on 
a game at vingt-un, more or less noisy. Those who 
had tired of vingt-un a little, or thought they had 
outgrown it, gathered in the gray parlor, and the 
gleanings for the earlier part of the war of the 
Rebellion were read, under more or less control 
from Colonel Ingham, who would not let an eager 
reader bore the others, or a modest one give up 
her turn for some one more resolute. As the 
summer passed, some of the visitors stayed, and 
some went away and other some came. But it 
often happened that there was an evening when 
they fell back on the war papers, — as they came 
to call them, — and so 

The Stories of the War 
Told by Soldiers 
came into being. 



CHAPTER II. 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 
HE first evening's reading began with the First 



Bull Run. Bull Run was the first great bat- 
tle of the war. 

"I tell you, children," said Uncle Fritz, " there 
was never anything like it, — no, not in those long 
four years. I mean there was nothing that made 
people so sick at heart. The truth was that till that 
hour we knew nothing of war or what war was. It 
was all a piece of stage-play and rhodomontade to . 
us who were not in the camp, and I was not. We 
had hardly advanced on that first notion, in which 
people supposed that an army on one side was to 
walk up in an open field, and another army to walk 
up opposite them on the other side, and that they 
were to take aim and fire at each other till one side 
had all run- away. The stuff written home from 
Washington and the camps to the newspapers was 
such as I cannot now believe we ever read. 

" I was away from home on Sunday, the day that 
battle was fought. But the church, morning and 
afternoon, was all excitement. Telegrams were 




THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



7 



coming from Washington all day long ; nothing to 
any real purpose, but all bragging, and nobody 
thinking of anything but victory. All the anxiety 
was who might be alive, or who dead. And from 
that congregation where I was, I suppose some fifty 
men, the minister among the rest, were in the bat- 
tle, and we knew it. The next clay I went down 
to Boston. I was in a committee-room, with a com- 
mittee of the Emigrant Aid Society. The news- 
papers had had there some cheerful, even jubilant 
accounts in the morning, and we were eagerly dis- 
cussing them, when in came Lawrence, who was 
alwaj^s well informed. 

u 4 1 have a despatch from Washington,' said he. 
4 We are as badly beaten as an army can be. Wash- 
ington is full of runaways, and I do n't know how 
soon the Rebels may march in.' 

u As it turned out, and as the boys will show 
you, this was almost as much of an exaggeration as 
the jubilation of the morning. But if our good 
friend had walked round the circle and slapped any 
one of us in the face we should not have been more 
surprised, — -nay, we should not have been so much 
displeased. It was the end of all business for that 
day. We went out to the newspaper offices, or 
where we could, to find more scraps of news. And 
I know I went home to tell Polly and the children, 
feeling as sick at body as at heart. It did not seem 
to me that life was worth living for. 

" At that same moment, as I knew years after- 



8 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 

wards, almost every house in Richmond was in the 
depth of sorrow. The Black Horse Cavalry was 
terribly cut up by the Union army in that action. 
And all that afternoon, and all the night which 
followed, every carriage in Richmond — so a negro 
hackman told me in 1866 — was carrying from the 
station to his home some wounded soldier. And 
in so many homes they were lamenting those who 
would never come ! There are two sides to war. 

" General Mc Dowell was in immediate command 
on our side. Horace has made up, from the care- 
ful official reports of the battle, a little account of 
the plan of it. and the way it was fought. He 
will read you this first, and then you will place the 
better the scraps which the others have found about 
the details/' 

METHOD OF TETE BATTLE. 

In July. 1861, General McDowell was at Centreville, 
twenty miles west of Washington, with the Grand 
Army" of twenty-eight thousand men. Two miles 
west of him. encamped behind Bull Run. with his head- 
quarters at Manassas, three miles back, was the Eebel 
army under Beauregard, twenty thousand strong. To 
the north, at Harper s Feny. was another Union army, 
of eighteen thousand men, under General Patterson, 
which held in cheek eight thousand Rebels at Winches- 
ter, commanded by General Johnston. 

Supposing that Patterson could keep Johnston from 
joining Beauregard. McDowell on the twentieth of July 
gave his orders for an advance on Bull Run on the next 
morning. There were three roads leading from Centre- 
ville across the Run. all of which were guarded by the 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



9 



Rebels ; but to the north, at Sudley Springs, was an un- 
guarded ford which could be reached by a detour of 
three miles from the northern road. By this ford the 
real attack was to be made by two divisions of the 
army, reinforced b}' a third division advancing along 
the northern road of the three to the Stone Bridge 
where it crossed the Run, while the other division was 
to make feints at the two southern roads, and act as a 
reserve. 

But the Rebels had guessed that some advance would 
be made, and, before the orders for attack had been 
given by McDowell, a large part of Johnston's army 
had arrived at Manassas from Winchester by railroad, 
and had been put into position. The rest of the army 
was certain to arrive at noon of the next day. 

At half past one on the morning of the twenty-first 
the Union camp was astir. General Tyler's division 
was under arms, and began its three-mile walk to Stone 
Bridge. But the troops and officers were raw, and it 
was dark. They could not see to get their breakfast, 
men carried off each' other's guns, company ran afoul of 
company, and regiments started in the wrong order. 
Suffice it to say that it took Tj^ler six hours to advance 
three miles and deploy into line ; it was as late as half 
past six when he began firing his thirty-pounder to show 
that he was read}\ 

Colonel Hunter, who, with his own and General 
Heintzelman's division, was to march five miles to Sud- 
ley Springs, was still more unfortunate. He had to start 
after Tyler on the same road ; he had to share all his 
delays, and it was six o'clock before he came to his own 
three miles of woods. Here the marching was still 
more difficult, and it was half past nine before his ad- 
vance reached the ford, with men who for eight hours 
had been tired by marching, or by waiting, more tiring 
even than marching. 

. This delay it was which lost the Union forces the 
battle ; for though the whole Rebel army was massed 
south of the Stone Bridge, Tyler's firing aroused them 



10 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



to the knowledge of our advance on the right, and at 
once troops were sent up to sustain the attack. They 
were drawn up to oppose Tyler ; but presently Hunter's 
men were seen crossing above, and the Rebels faced to 
the left and advanced to an open field sloping down to 
the woods, from which he must emerge. They halted 
within musket-shot of these woods, and when Hunter's 
advance came to the open ground, it was met by both 
artillery and infantry fire. Nothing daunted, however, 
his first regiments formed in the shelter of the woods, 
and advanced, driving the enemy back, beyond the road 
on which Tyler was stationed, while the troops in the 
rear formed to the right and left. ^Vhen Tyler learned 
from look-outs in the high trees that Hunter was ad- 
vancing to the road, he ordered his subordinates, 
Colonels Sherman and Keyes, with their brigades, 
across the Run. They forded the stream, as the bridge 
and road were impassable from the abatis of the Rebels, 
and faced to the south, forming to the left of Hunter's 
two divisions. The whole hue, advancing, drove the 
enemy, though strongly reinforced, still farther back, 
up rising ground upon a plateau, where they made a 
stand. Here one of Keyes's regiments charged up the 
hill, capturing a battery, and gaining a position upon 
the top. This was the turning-point of the battle ; the 
regiment was driven back again after holding the ridge 
for hardly five minutes. The attack was renewed, with 
less success, the Rebels advanced and were driven back, 
and the wave of success swept to and fro. 

Meanwhile, in the Rebel lines the prospects were by 
no means so favorable. Their troops with the greatest 
difficulty held the hill against the vigorous though spas- 
modic attacks of our men. Beauregard had hurried 
up all his troops from the two lower roads, excepting 
one brigade, and these new troops were pushed to the 
front, while those who had been broken by the Union 
attacks were led and driven into shape behind. The 
time had passed when Johnston's reinforcements were 
promised. Messengers were sent to the railroad to stop 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



11 



the train at the nearest point to the battle-field, and hurry 
the men up directly, when they should arrive. The fire 
of the Union troops, which had slackened, was now 
reviving, and there were sj'mptoms of a general ad- 
vance, when, at half past three, on their extreme left, 
the Rebels heard loud cheering. Anxiously they 
watched to see if it were friend or foe, when the shout 
of "Johnston! Johnston!" was heard, and the right 
of the Union troops was seen to break and run. A 
general advance was ordered, and the Union line fell 
back, the two divisions on the right in total disorder, 
with the exception of the battalion of regulars, which 
covered their flight. The Rebels pursued them to the 
Run, where, the reserve under Miles interposing to pro- 
tect the rout, the Rebels called a halt. The panic 
spread among, the Union camp-followers, and many of 
the fugitives did not stop till they reached Washington. 
The whole Union line fell back to their old camp at 
Centreville, where they passed the night. The next 
day they retreated to the Potomac. 

AN IMPROMPTU LOOK-OUT. 

During this period of waiting the thirty-pounder was 
occasionally used with considerable effect against bodies 
of infantry and cavalry, which could be seen from time 
to time moving in the direction of Hunter's column, and 
out of the range of ordinary guns. Using a high tree 
as an observator} r , we could constantly see the op- 
erations of Hunter's and Heintzelman's column from 
the time they crossed Bull Run, and through one of 
my staff, Lieut. O'Rourke, of the Engineers, I was 
promptly notified as to any change in the progress of 
their columns up to the -time when it appeared that the 
heads of both were arrested, and the enenry seemed to 
be moving heavy reinforcements to support their troops. 
At this time I ordered Colonel Sherman with his brig- 
ade to cross Bull Run, and to support the two columns 
already in action. Colonel Sherman, as appears by his 



12 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



reports, crossed the run without opposition, and, after 
encountering a party of the enemy flying before Hun- 
ter's forces, found General McDowell, and received his 
orders to join in the pursuit. — Gen. Tyler, 1st Division. 

A SAD MISTAKE. 

This movement was effected at " quick" and " double- 
quick " time, both by the infantry and artillery, during 
which march the men threw from their shoulders their 
haversacks, blankets, and most of their canteens, to 
facilitate their eagerness to engage the enemy. On 
arriving at the point indicated, being the extreme left 
of the enemy and the extreme right of our line, and in 
advance of all other of our troops, and where I was in- 
formed officially that two other regiments had declined 
to charge, we formed a line of battle, our right resting 
within a few feet of the woods, and the left at and 
around Rickett's batter}', and upon the crest of the hill, 
within fifty or sixty feet of the enemy's line of infantry, 
with whom we could have readily conversed in an ordi- 
nary tone of voice. Immediately upon Rickett's bat- 
tery coming into position and we in " line of battle," 
Colonel Heintzelman rode up between our lines and that 
of the enemy, within pistol-shot of each, which circum- 
stance staggered my judgment whether those in front 
were friends or enemies, it being equally manifest that 
the enemy were in the same dilemma as to our identity. 
But a few seconds, however, undeceived both, — they 
displa3'ing the Rebel and we the Union flag. Instantly 
a blaze of fire was poured into the faces of the comba- 
tants, each producing terrible destruction, owing to the 
close proximity of the forces, which was followed by 
volley after voile}-, in regular and irregular order as to 
time, until Rickett's battery was disabled and cut to 
pieces, and a large portion of its officers and men had 
fallen, and until Companies H, I, K, C, G, and those 
immediately surrounding my regimental flag, were so 
desperately cut to pieces as to make it more of a 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



13 



slaughter-house than an equal combat, the enemy mani- 
festly numbering five guns to our one, besides being 
intrenched in the woods and behind ditches and pits 
plainly perceptible, and with batteries upon the enemy's 
right, enfilading m} T left flank, and within three hundred t 
and fifty yards' direct range. After an effort to obtain 
aid from the Fire Zouaves, then immediately upon our 
left, two or three different orders came to retire, as it 
was manifest that the contest was too deadly and un- 
equal to be longer justifiably maintained. — Col. Gorham, 
1st Minn., with 3d Division. 

A BRAVE CAPTAEST. 

A further order was then made to advance the colors 
of the Seventy-first New York to the front, but, as it 
seemed to be certain death to stand exposed to the tor- 
nado which swept the brow of the hill, the color-bearer 
naturally hesitated for a moment ; whereupon several of 
Company F sprang quickly forward, with the excla- 
mation, " Give us the colors ! " But Captain Coles, of 
Company C, was the foremost in the effort, and, seizing 
the flag, he ran with it fall fifty pacts to the front, and 
held it at arm's length high in the air, and then planted 
it in the earth. Its folds were hailed in the Rebel bat- 
tery with a demoniac yell, and in the next instant the 
bright banner was riddled with a shower of balls. Prov- 
identially, the gallant Captain was untouched. — Capt. 
Wilkes. 

A LEAP FOR LIBERTY. 

The Sixty-ninth New York brought up the rear of the 
temporarily retiring column ; but its gallant Colonel, 
watchful of its welfare, lingered behind and urged strag- 
glers not to get separated from their commands. He 
paused for an instant to salute Colonel Tompkins, of 
the Second, who stood dismounted at a little distance 
from his regiment, on the opposite side of the road. 



14 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 

Just at this moment a large body of the enemy's Black 
Horse were seen making a charge toward them, though 
its immediate object was to attack Carlisle's battery, 
which, out of ammunition, stood limbered up in the 
centre of the road. The two colonels watched the 
movement, and, transfixed with excitement as they saw 
the dragoons sabre the cannoniers, forgot to take meas- 
ures for their own protection. It was imminently 
necessary that they should, for the quick exploit upon 
the battery had scarcely retarded the black column in 
the least, and the} T came pouring upon the unformed 
columns of the Schenck Brigade. Promptly, however, 
the quick order of McCook shaped the First Ohio, and 
the others, following by instinct, showed a firm line, 
with bajonets all poised, and ready for the charge. 
The Black Horse looked for a moment, but, not liking 
that array of steel, the} r flirted off to the right (receiv- 
ing a volley as they went), and a squad of them made a 
dash to cut off the two colonels who were isolated in the 
road. Tompkins, who saw the danger coming, quickly 
sprang to a horse near at hand, and calling on Corcoran 
to follow, spurred him at a fence. The troopers, how- 
ever, were too near for Corcoran's tired steed, and, 
whirling around the Irish colonel, they took him cap- 
tive, and bore him off. A portion of the squad followed 
after Tompkins, but his spirited charger leaped two 
fences in fine style, and amid the crack of the dra- 
goons' six-shooters, he got safe away. The brigade of 
Schenck, being now utterly fagged out, and being more- 
over entirely without orders, fell back upon the foot- 
steps of the Sixt} -ninth. — Capt, Wilkes. 

pioneers' work. 

While this was going on, Captain Alexander, of the 
Engineer Corps, brought up the compairy of pioneers, 
or axe-men, which, with its officers and sixty men, had 
been entirely detailed from the regiments of my brigade, 
to open a communication over the bridge, and through 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



15 



the heavy abatis which obstructed the passage of troops 
on our front be}~ond the Run. — Gen. Schenck, 2d Bri- 
gade , 1st Division. 

REYES'S SPLENDID CHARGE. 

At about two o'clock, p. m., General Tyler ordered 
nie to take a battery on a height in front. The battery 
was strongly posted, and supported by infantry and 
riflemen, sheltered by a building, a fence, and a hedge. 
My order to charge was obeyed with the utmost prompt- 
ness. Colonel Jameson of the Second Maine, and 
Colonel Chatfield of the Third Connecticut Volunteers, 
pressed forward their regiments up the base slope about 
one hundred yards, when I ordered them to lie down at 
a point offering a small protection, and load. I then 
ordered them to advance again, which they did, in the 
face of a movable battery of eight pieces and a large 
body of infantry, toward the top of the hill. As we 
moved forward we came under the fire of other large 
bodies of the enemy posted behind breastworks, and, on 
reaching the summit of the hill, the firing became so hot 
that an exposure to it of five minutes would have anni- 
hilated my whole line Private Leach is also 

highly praised for having spiked three abandoned guns 
with a ramrod, and then bringing away two abandoned 

muskets Lieutenant-Colonel Speidal of the First 

Connecticut was set upon b}^ three of the enemy, who 
undertook to make him a prisoner. The Lieutenant- 
Colonel killed one and drove off the other two of his 
assailants, and escaped. — CoL Keycs, 1st Brigade, 1st 
Division. 

THE FIRST REVERSE. 

Griffin's and Rickett's batteries were ordered by the 
commanding general to the top of the hill on the right, 
supported with the Fire Zouaves and Marines, while the 
Fourteenth entered the skirt of wood on their right to pro- 



16 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



tect that flank, and a column composed of the Twenty- 
seventh New York, Eleventh and Fifth Massachusetts, 
Second Minnesota, and Sixty-ninth New York moved 
up toward the left flank of the batteries ; but so soon as 
the} 7 were in position, and before the flanking supports 
had reached them, a murderous fire of musketry and 
rifles, opened at pistol range, cut down every cannonier 
and a large number of horses. The fire came from 
some infantry of the enemy, which had been mistaken 
for our own forces, an officer in the field having stated 
that it was a regiment sent by Colonel Heintzelman to 
support the batteries. 

The evanescent courage of the Zouaves prompted 
them to fire perhaps a hundred shots, when they broke 
and fled, leaving the batteries open to a charge of the 
enemy's cavalry, which took place immediate!}'. The 
Marines also, in spite of the exertions of their gallant 
officers, gave way in disorder. The Fourteenth, on the 
right, and the column on the left, hesitatingly retired, 
with the exception of the Sixty-ninth and Thirty-eighth 
New York, who nobly stood and returned the fire of the 
enemy for fifteen minutes. Soon the slopes behind us 
were swarming with our retreating and disorganized 
forces, while riderless horses and artillery teams ran 
furiously through the flying crowd. 

All further efforts were futile. The words, gestures, 
and threats of our officers were thrown away upon men 
who had lost all presence of mind, and only longed for 
absence of body. Some of our noblest and best officers 
lost their lives in trying to rally them. Upon our Jirst 
position the Twenty-seventh was the first to rally, under 
the command of Major Bartlett, and around it the other 
regiments engaged soon collected their scattered frag- 
ments. The battalion of regulars, in the mean time, 
moved steadily across the field from left to right, and 
took up a position, where it held the entire forces of the 
rebels in check until our forces were somewhat rallied. — 
Col. Porter, 1st Brigade, 2d Division. 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



17 



THE ROUT. 

The retreat continued thus until the column was 
about emerging from the woods and entering upon the 
Warrenton Turnpike, when the artillery and cavalry 
went to the front, and the enemy opened fire upon the 
retreating mass of men. Upon the Bridge crossing Cub 
Run a shot took effect upon the horses of a team that 
was crossing. The wagon was overturned directly in 
the centre of the bridge, and the passage was completely 
obstructed. The enemy continued to play his artillery 
upon the train carriages, ambulances, and artillery 
wagons that filled the road, and these were reduced to 
ruin. The artillery could not possibl} r pass, and five 
pieces of the Rhode Island battery, which had been 
safely brought off the field, were here lost. — Col. Burn- 
side, 2d Brigade, 2d Division. 

ACTION OF THE RESERVE. 

Soon afterward, several squadrons of the enemy's 
cavalry advanced along the road, and appeared before 
the outposts. They were challenged, "Who comes 
here?" and, remaining without any answer, I, being 
just present at the outpost, called " Union forever!" 
whereupon the officer of the enemy's cavalry com- 
manded, "En avantl en avant ! knock him clown!" 
Now the skirmishers fired, when the enemy turned 
around, leaving several killed and wounded on the spot. 
About nine prisoners who were already in their hands 
were liberated b} T this action. — Col. Blenker, 1st Bri- 
gade, ,ith Division. 

A YOTJXG COMMANDER. 

While the Thirty-second was in this position, the 
Sixteenth and Thirty-first having passed within its 
range, a youthful orderly rode up to Colonel Matheson 

2 



18 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



to inform him that the Black Cavalry, sheltered from 
his observation by a piece of woods, were coming up 
on the right, and, if he would take a cut with his 
regiment across the fields, they would be turned back 
upon their errand. The evolution was performed, 
gave the protection that was desired, and the Black 
Horse relinquished its purpose in that quarter. "While 
the regiment, however, was adhering to this position, 
the same youth who had imparted the previous sug- 
gestion rode up to the regiment again, and told 
Matheson he had better now fall back on Centreville, 
as his duty at that spot had been thoroughly per- 
formed. As this was about the first sign of orders 
(with one single exception) he had received during the 
entire day, Matheson felt some curiosity to learn who 
this young Lieutenant was, and whence these orders 
came ; he therefore turned sharply on the youth, who, he 
now perceived, could not be more than twentj'-two or 
three, and said, "Young man, I would like to know 
3'our name." The youth replied that he was a son of 
Quartermaster-General Meigs. " B3- whose authority, 
then, do you deliver me these orders?" was the Cali- 
fornian's next inquiry. The young man smiled, and 
remarked, 4 'Well, sir, the truth is, that for the last few 
hours I have been giving all the orders for this division, 
and acting as general too, for there is no general on 
the field."— Capt. Wilkes. 



A BRAVE OFFICER. 

In addition, I deem it my duty to add that Lieut. 
Ames was wounded so as to be unable to ride his horse, 
at almost the first fire : yet he sat by his command 
directing the fire, being helped on and off the caisson 
during the different changes of front or position, refusing 
to leave the field until he became too weak to sit up. — 
Capt. Grijjin, oth Art., with 2d Division. 



THE FIRST BULL RUN. 



19 



A REBEL BATTERY. 

While this last battery was forming in our front, a 
vast column of thousands of infantry marched down in 
close order, about two hundred yards to its right. I did 
not then know where the several regiments of our bri- 
gade were posted. We heard firing upon our right and 
left, but too far off to protect us from a sudden charge, 
as we were in the middle of an open field, and not a 
single company of infantry visible to us on the right, 
left, or rear. At the moment the enemy's main column 
came down the hill, we observed the head of another 
column advancing down the valley from our left, and 
therefore concealed by a hill, and not over three hun- 
dred and fifty or four hundred yards distant. At first 
I took them for friends, and ordered the men not to fire 
on them. To ascertain certainly who they were, I sprang 
upon my horse and galloped to the top of the hill to 
our left, when I had a nearer and better view. There 
were two regiments of them. They halted about three 
hundred yards in front of their own battery on the hill- 
side, wheeled into line with their backs towards us, 
and fired a volley, apparently at their battery. This 
deceived me, and I shouted to my men to fire upon 
the battery, — that these were friends, who would charge 
and take it in a moment. Fortunately, my order was 
not heard or not obeyed by all the gunners, for some of 
them commenced firing into this line, which brought 
them to the right-about, and the}' commenced advancing 
towards us, when their uniform disclosed fully their 
character. I instantly ordered the second section of my 
battery to limber up and come on the hill where I was, in- 
tending to open on them with canister. Anticipating this 
movement, and intending to make the hill to the left too 
hot for us, or seeing me out there alone, where I could 
observe their movements and report them, their nearest 
battery directed and fired all its guns at me at once, 
but without hitting me or my horse. I galloped back to 



20 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



my guns, and found that the two guns on our light had 
left the field, and we were alone again. My order to 
limber up the second section was understood as applying 
to the whole battery, so that the drivers had equalized 
the teams sufficiently to move all the guns and caissons, 
and the pieces were all limbered. On riding back a 
short distance, where I could see oyer the hill again, I 
discovered the enemy approaching rapidly, and so near 
that I doubted our ability to save the battery ; but, by a 
very rapid movement up the ravine, we avoided the shells 
of the three batteries that were now directed at us, 
sufficiently to escape with three guns and all the caissons. 
The fourth gun, I think, was struck under the axle by an 
exploding shell, as it broke right in the middle, and 
dropped the gun in the field. We saved the team. 
Their advance fired a volley of musketry at us without 
effect, when we got over the hill out of their reach, and 
a few moments afterwards heard the infantry engage 
them from the woods, some distance to the south ol 
us. — Gapt, Imboden, Staunton Artillery, G S. A. 



CHAPTER III. 

FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON. 

"VTOU can see well enough how eager the whole 
country was for action, — and how every- 
body chafed under the delay, which people hardly 
understood, of preparing for war. In truth, armies 
had to be clothed, shod, trained to duty. Powder 
had to be made, — and for this saltpetre had to be 
bought, even on the other side of the world, — 
cannon were to be cast, bored, and rifled, — all 
the other munitions of war were to be made, and 
this on a scale without precedent. Winter also 
came on, and winter, in countries where the roads 
are bad, always arrests the course of war. 

This tedious waiting was broken in upon every 
day by some report or other from the long line of 
the scene of war. It was not in Virginia only, it was 
in the State then new made, and now called West 
Virginia, — a State which was loyal when " Old 
Virginia " east of the mountains left the Union, — it 
was in Kentucky, in Missouri, in South Carolina, and 
in Louisiana, that fighting was going on ; so that 
every day's newspaper had its story of a skirmish 



22 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



somewhere, and the preparation for battle. And 
there were letters — oh, so many letters ! — from the 
armies, from brothers and sons and husbands and 
fathers. Yet, all through the autumn and after the 
winter began, there had been no movement of first- 
rate importance until the Rebel armies were driven 
out of Kentucky and of the greater part of Ten- 
nessee by the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Don- 
elson. The joy of the loyal States was out of all 
proportion to the numbers engaged, or to the imme- 
diate importance of the battles. In truth, those 
battles showed a great many things which were not 
known before, — though they had been hoped for. 
They showed how much might be expected from the 
"push" and spirit of the Western troops, though 
they had not been trained to war. Men fought in 
them, and fought well, who had not had their 
muskets a fortnight. These battles showed also 
that a commander had appeared who understood 
the Western troops, had confidence in them, and 
knew how to use them with success. 

This officer was Ulysses Simpson Grant, — and 
these successes first brought his name prominently 
before the country. 

You will probably not find Fort Henry or Fort 
Donelson on your school maps. They were built 
simply for the purposes of the Rebels there, — and 
have long since ceased to have any purpose. But 
you can place them well enough on your maps, 
if you will find where the Cumberland River and 



FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON. 23 



where the Tennessee River cross the line of Ken- 
tucky. Just south of this line, on the eastern side 
of the Tennessee, was Fort Henry, and a few miles 
from it, on the western side of the Cumberland, 
was Fort Donelson. General Grant moved with 
seventeen thousand men, on transports, on the 
river from Cairo, on the 2d of February, 1862. On 
the 4th he landed three miles below Fort Henry, 
and on the 6th began to move by land against 
the fort. Commodore Foote, of the navy, in 
command of the gun-boats, moved up by water. 
Of course he arrived first. His fire silenced the 
water batteries in an hour and a half, and the fort 
surrendered at discretion. The garrison, except- 
ing sixty men who were kept to rub the guns, had 
been marched off to Fort Donelson. So when 
General Grant arrived with his force, which had 
a much longer course by land than the boats 
had had by water, he found the fort had surren- 
dered and the garrison were gone. 

Here is his letter announcing the success. Ob- 
serve the confidence with which he speaks of what 
he should do next : — 

FORT HENRY CAPITULATES. 

In a little over one hour all the batteries were silenced, 
and the fort surrendered at discretion to Flag-Officer 
Foote. giving us all their guns, camp equipage, etc. 
The prisoners taken were General Tilghman and staff, 
Captain Taylor and company, and the sick. The garri- 
son. I think, must have commenced the retreat last 



24 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



night, or at an early hour this morning. Had I not felt 

it an imperative duty to attack Fort Henry to-day. I 
should have made the investment complete, and delayed 
until to-morrow, so as to have secured the garrison. I 
do not now believe, however, that the result would have 
been any more satisfactory. 

The gun-boats have proved themselves well able 
to resist a severe cannonading. All the iron-clads 
received more or less shots. — the flag-ship, some 
twenty-eight, — without any serious damage to any ex- 
cept the Essex. This vessel received one shot in her 
boilers that disabled her. killing and wounding some 
thirty-two men. Captain Porter among the wounded. 

I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th, 
and return to Fort Henry with the forces employed, un- 
less it looks possible to occupy the place with a small 
force, that could retreat easily to the main body. I 
shall regard it more in the light of an advanced guard 
than as a permanent post. 

For the character of the works at Fort Henry I will 
refer you to reports of the engineers 

Owing to the intolerable state of the roads, no trans- 
portation will be taken to Fort Donelson. and but little 
artillery, and that with double teams. — Gen. Grant. 

Just notice, " I shall take and destroy Fort Don- 
elson on the 8th." This shows what General 
Sherman alluded to as General Grant's confidence 
in success. 

He did not move on the 8th, however, but on 
the 12th. And here is his story of what happened 
then : — 

GENERAL GPwANT's HISTORY OF DONELSON. 

I am pleased to announce to the Department the un- 
conditional surrender, this morning, of Fort Donelson, 
with twelve to fifteen thousand prisoners, at least forty 



FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON. 25 



pieces of artillery, and a large amount of stores, horses, 
mules, and other public property. 

I left Fort Henry on the 12th instant, with a force of 
about fifteen thousand men, divided into two divisions, 
under the command of Generals McClernand and Smith. 
Six regiments were sent around by water the day before, 
convoyed by a gun-boat (or boats) , and with instruc- 
tions not to pass it. 

The troops made the march in good order, the head 
of the column arriving within two miles of the fort at 
twelve o'clock m. At this point the enemy's pickets 
were met and driven in. The fortifications of the enemy 
were from this point gradually approached and sur- 
rounded, with occasional skirmishing on the line. The 
following day, owing to the non- arrival of the gun-boats 
and reinforcements sent by water, no attack was made, 
but the investment was extended on the flanks of the 
enemy, and drawn closer to his works, with skirmishing 
all day. On the evening of the 13th, the gun-boats and 
reinforcements arrived. On the 14th, a gallant attack 
was made by Flag-Offlcer Foote upon the enemy's river 
batteries with his fleet. The engagement lasted proba- 
bly one hour and a half, and bade fair to result favorably, 
when two unlucky shots disabled two of the armored 
boats, so that they were carried back by the current. 
The remaining two were very much disabled also, hav- 
ing received a number of heavy shots about the pilot- 
houses and other parts of the vessels. After these 
mishaps, I concluded to make the investment of Fort 
Donelson as perfect as possible, and partially fortify, 
and await repairs for the gun-boats. This plan was 
frustrated, however, by the enemy making a most vig- 
orous attack upon our right wing, commanded by Brig- 
adier-General J. A. McClernand, and which consisted 
of his division and a portion of the force'under General 
L. Wallace. 

The enenry were repelled, after a closely contested 
battle of several hours, in which our loss was heavy. 
The officers suffered out of proportion. I have not the 



26 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



means of determining our loss, even approximately, but 
it cannot fall far short of twelve hundred, killed, 
wounded, and missiug. Of the latter. I understand, 
through General Buckner. about two hundred and fifty 
were taken prisoners. I shall retain here enough of the 
enemy to exchange for them, as they were immediately 
shipped off. and not left for re-capture. 

About the close of this action the ammunition and 
cartridge-boxes gave out. which, with the loss of many 
of the field-officers, produced great confusion in the 
ranks. Seeing that the enemy did not take advantage 
of it. convinced me that equal confusion, and conse- 
quently great demoralization, existed with him. Tak- 
ing advantage of this fact. I ordered a charge upon the 
left (enemy's right) with the division under General C. 
F. Smith, which was most brilliantly executed, and gave 
our arms full assurance of victory. The battle lasted 
until dark, and gave us possession of part of the in- 
trenchment. An attack was ordered from the other 
flank, after the charge by General Smith was com- 
menced, by the divisions under McClernand and Wal- 
lace, which, notwithstanding hours of exposure to a 
heavy fire in the fore part of the day. was gallantly 
made, and the enemy further repulsed. At the points 
thus gained, night having come on. all the troops en- 
camped for the night, feeling that a complete victory 
would crown their efforts at an early hour in the morn- 
ing. This morning, at a very early hour, a note was 
received from General Buckner. under a flag of truce, 
proposing an armistice. A copy of the correspondence 
which ensued is herewith enclosed. 

I could mention individuals who especially distin- 
guished themselves, but will leave this to division and 
brigade commanders, whose reports will be forwarded 
as soon as received. 

Of the division commanders, however. Generals 
Smith. McClernand. and Wallace. I must do the justice 
to say that all of them were with their commands in the 
midst of danger, and were always ready to execute all 
orders, no matter what the exposure to themselves. 



FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON. 27 



At the hour the attack was made on General McCler- 
nand's command I was absent, having received a note 
from Flag-Officer Foote, requesting me to go and see 
him, he being unable to call on me in consequence of a 
wound received the day before. — Gen. Grant, Official 
Report. 

THE REBEL ATTACK. 

Again the Eebels move towards the right flank of our 
new line, and again the battle rages. Cruft's brigade, 
of Lewis Wallace's division, is ordered down upon this 
flanking column" at a run. Thus checked, the enemy 
might have been driven back and pursued, had it not 
been for a new and unexpected foe, or rather the fear of 
one, swarming from their intrenchinents, and passing 
the rifle-pits like a surge of the sea. Buckner's force 
came out to attack the left flank and crotchet of our 
new line. As soon as they were discovered, Wallace 
strengthened the flank thus threatened, and two of 
Taylor's guns, coming rapidly into action, dealt grape 
and canister on his advance. Buckner was easily re- 
pulsed, for his attack was very feebly delivered, and 
his troops behaved in the most cowardly manner. When, 
at eleven o'clock, Pillow rode over to Buckner's position, 
he found them huddled together under cover, from 
which it was only after a good deal of artillery firing 
that their general could persuade them to emerge. In 
speaking of the repulse, Buckner says his attacking 
regiments " withdrew without panic, but in some con- 
fusion, to the trenches." 

But the moral effect of Buckner's attack was not with- 
out its value. Beset on all sides, Pillow thundering 
upon our new front, the cavahy threatening our rear, 
Johnson's well extended upon our right, checked but 
not driven off by Cruft, our men were somewhat demor- 
alized by Buckner's demonstration ; many became dis- 
heartened ; the fugitives from the front became a crowd. 
A mounted officer galloped down the road, shouting, 



28 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



"We are cut to pieces. " The ammunition had given 
out. Our line, including Cruft. who had borne the brunt 
of the battle for some time, was again forced back. 
Logan, Lawler, and Ransom were wounded, — many field- 
officers and large numbers of subalterns killed. The 
crisis of the battle had indeed arrived, when General 
Wallace posted Colonel Thayer's (Third) brigade across 
the road, formed a reserve of three regiments, placed 
Wood's batteiy in position, and awaited the attack. 
The retiring regiments formed again in the rear, and 
were supplied with ammunition. The Rebel attack upon 
this new line was extremely vigorous. They had de- 
layed for a while to plunder the dead and pick up what 
the}' could find in McClernand's camp, and Pillow sent 
back an aid to telegraph to Xashville that, "on the 
honor of a soldier," the day was theirs. The new at- 
tack, which he was about to make, was only the finish- 
ing stroke. Again he moved upon Thayer's brigade ; 
but by their unflinching stand and deliberate fire, and 
especially by the pioneers of the First Nebraska, and 
the excellent handling of the artillery, he was re- 
pulsed. — Gen. Coppee. 

smith's attack. 

"Wallace was alread}' on his war-path, as we have 
just described, when General Smith organized his col- 
umn of attack. Cook's brigade is posted on his left, 
and is designed to make a feint upon the work. Ca ven- 
der's heavy guns are posted in rear to the right and left, 
having a cross-fire upon the intrenchments, and also 
playing upon the fort ; but the attacking force — the 
forlorn hope — is Lanman's brigade, formed in close 
column of regiments, and composed of the Second Iowa, 
the Fifty-second Indiana (temporarily attached), the 
Twenty-fifth Indiana, the Seventh Iowa, and the Four- 
teenth Iowa. 

Cook's feigned attack is already begun ; Cavender's 
guns are thundering away. It is nearly sunset, when 



FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON. 29 



Smith, hearing Wallace's guns far to the right, puts 
himself at the head of Lanman's brigade, and, climbing 
the steep hill-side, bursts upon the ridge on which the 
enemy has constructed his outer works. Before advan- 
cing, and when the force was just in readiness to move, 
Smith had ridden along the line, and in a few but em- 
phatic words had told them the duty the}^ were to per- 
form. He said that he would lead them, and that the 
pits must be taken by the bayonet alone. Perhaps 
during the whole war, full as it is of brilliant actions, 
there is none more striking than this charge. 

At the given signal, the lines are put in motion, Smith 
riding in advance, with the color-bearer alongside of 
him, his commanding figure, gra} r hair, and haughty 
contempt of danger, acting upon his men like the white 
plume of Navarre at Ivry . Not far has he moved be- 
fore his front line is swept b}- the enemy's artillery with 
murderous effect. His men waver for a moment, but 
their general, sublime in his valor, reminds them, in caus- 
tic words, that while he, as an old regular, is in the line 
of his professional duty, this is what they have volunteered 
to do. With oaths and urgency, his hat waving upon 
the point of his sword, by the splendor of his example, 
he leads them on through this valley of death, up the 
slope, through the abatis, up to the intrenchment — and 
over. With a thousand shouts, they plant their stand- 
ards on the captured works, and pour in volley after 
volle}^, before which the Rebels fly in precipitate terror. 
Battery after battery is brought forward, Stone's arriv- 
ing first, and then a direct and enfilading fire is poured 
upon the flanks and faces of the work. Four hundred 
of Smith's gallant column have fallen, but the charge is 
decisive. Grant's tactics and Smith's splendid valor 
have won the day. — Gen. Coppee. 



CHAPTER IV. 



GENERAL McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. — 
WEST VIRGINIA. 

1V/rE AN WHILE, on the Atlantic side, — in front 
of Washington, as soldiers say — they did 
not mean to make the mistake of Bull Run again. 
General Scott, who was an old man, withdrew from 
the command of the army. General McClellan, 
comparatively a young man, had the credit of the 
one success so far attained by the National army. 
This was in West Virginia. He was an accom- 
plished officer, and people hoped he would be the 
young Napoleon again. You shall see, as an en- 
gineer officer tells the story, how that success in 
Western Virginia came about. McClellan was ap- 
pointed to command the army of the Potomac. He 
was not afraid to conquer by delay, if he could, as 
Washington and Fabius had done before him. So, 
from the 1st of August, 1861, all through the 
winter, and until the next May, he was engaged 
on the southern side of the Potomac in bringing 
the Northern army into discipline, — in arranging 
its several parts so that they should work as one 
machine, and in accustoming men and officers to 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 31 



their duties and to their relations with each other. 
As nine out of ten of these soldiers had never been 
soldiers before, — indeed, had scarcely dreamed of 
such a thing, — the time was none too much for the 
enterprise. At first the country behind the army 
was well enough satisfied, for the lesson of Bull Run 
had been a tremendous one. But people observed 
that the Western army did not seem to require such 
long preparation, and when spring came of the 
year 1862 they were impatient, as the army itself 
was indeed, for action. Still, from the army itself 
there came back the word that nothing could be 
done till the roads were dry. The mud of the 
Virginia road is indeed a protection against in- 
vaders for many months of the year, almost equal 
to any batteries. 

At last, however, the army moved ; not directly 
across the country, as in the march which resulted 
so badly at Bull Run, but by steamboats and barges 
down Chesapeake Bay, to land at Fort Monroe, op- 
posite Norfolk, at the mouth of James River, and so 
to drive the Rebels from Yorktown, — where Corn- 
wallis surrendered eighty years before, — and then 
to march up " the Peninsula," as it was called, to 
attack Richmond from the east. 

The " Peninsula " means the peninsula between 
James River and York River. It was the country 
first settled in America. In one of Captain John 
Smith's letters, written from the infant colony at 
the old Jamestown, he says it is all of America that 



32 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



there will ever be any need to settle, and proposes 
to build a line of little forts across the isthmus, to 
keep out the Indians forever from it. It was in the 
swamps of the Chickahominy that he was lost 
when the Indians took him prisoner, and where he 
pretended that Pocahontas rescued him. She was 
then a child, seven years old. In these same 
swamps Mc Clellan's army encamped, and here 
were the " battles of the six days" fought. These 
were battles in which he withdrew his army from 
that side of Richmond, after many severe fights 
before that city, and changed the base of his sup- 
plies from the York River to the James. That 
means, that he received his supplies afterward by 
James River. 

General Mc Clellan's own report of these move- 
ments makes a book much larger than this which 
you are reading. Horace and Walter were very 
much interested in it. and for a while they became 
very strong " McClellanites." They said that no 
novel had scenes so pathetic as his descriptions of 
his disappointments when troops were withheld 
that he hoped for, or ordered away from him to 
the defence of Washington when he needed them 
for attack. But other readers and other people 
have not greatly praised him. 

Here is the detail of the success in West Virginia, 
by which he earned his command. You will see 
that, if he had had his way, the victory would not 
have been won. 



WEST VIRGINIA. 



33 



THE DEATH OF GARNETT IK WEST VIRGINIA. 

And for nearly a week, we watched this road to the 
north, and those to the right and left, along the north face 
of the mountain, as ordered by McClellan ; it being 
understood (as was stated by him) that he was to take 
care of the road south , over the mountain ; by which road 
Garnett eventually escaped. We had daily skirmish- 
ing, — now and then a man killed, and some two to five 
wounded each day, on either side, — for the five or six 
days we la}^ there ; from time to time routing out Gar- 
nett's camp with our artillery, which I had placed on 
the different near hills as they could reach him. This 
continued until about seven, on the morning of the 
12th of July; when a sergeant of the command (a 
preacher at home) , who had been on picket, (or scout- 
ing on his own account,) came rushing into Morris's 
head-quarters at Eliot's House, crying out, u They are 
gone, they are all gone ! We can see no one in their 
camp." I mounted at once, and went forward to Gar- 
nett's camp, reconnoitring carefully as we came near, 
and entered the works, which I found were in a con- 
tinuous line from the woods at the north to the moun- 
tain on the west. I there saw manifest signs of their 
leaving in great haste. Many articles of value, even, 
had been abandoned, and much that was useful. I sent 
back at once to request that General Morris would send 
forward two regiments, and a wagon-load or two of bis- 
cuit, for the pursuit. And while waiting for these in 
Garnett' s camp, about nine a. m., I received from 
General Morris an order sent to him b}- General McClel- 
lan, informing him of the rout of Pegram, and forbid- 
ding him to attack Garnett, 

As soon as the first regiment arrived, we started to 
go over the Laurel Mountain, and reach the south side, 
about three or four miles distant, between one and two 
p. m. Here General Morris joined us ; and, after re- 
maining an hour or so, he returned to camp to bring up 

3 



34 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



the rest of his men. But he directed me not to move 
from that position until he rejoined us, as he expected 
to some time that afternoon. 

About nine or ten r. m. General Morris joined us, 
and was quite indignant at Milne's disobedience, sa}- 
ing he should not lead the march in the pursuit on the 
next day to punish him for this disobedience of his 
order ; by which he had found everything — artillery, 
wagons, and all — were in the greatest confusion on 
this narrow mountain-path at midnight. 

About ten p. m. orders' came from McClellan, then 
at Beverly (in response to my report) , for us to pursue 
with the earliest light, and stating that General Hill 
had orders sent him to intercept Garnett where he was 
expected to pass at the "Red House," near Oakland, 
some twenty-five or thirty miles to the northeast of us. 

At daj'light of the 13th, I started in command of the 
advance column, .... there being some eighteen hun- 
dred men in all. On reaching New Interest, at six to 
seven a. m., we began to find the camp equipage scat- 
tered along the road ; first tent-poles, then tents, and 
then camp furniture. And soon we made sure that 
Garnett had turned off over a winding, hilly road, to 
his right, which passed over several mountain spurs to 
branches of the Cheat River, and led to the village of 
St. Georges, some fifteen to twenty miles to the north- 
east, on its right bank ; and, later, we found, as we 
entered this mountain road, that the more valuable 
camp furniture was then being left behind, and among 
the first (probably as an example), the fine camp-stools, 
&c. (as marked) of General Garnett himself. AVe 
then came upon barricades of trees felled across the 
roads upon the mountain slopes, and at all defiles and 
steep " hill-sides" : some eighteen or twenty such ob- 
structions, from eight}' to three hundred yards in extent 
on the road, were encountered in the march of some 
eight to ten miles over two spurs of the mountains. 
The Rebels, fortunately for us, left their axes as they 



WEST VIRGINIA. 



35 



fled from our advance skirmishers, sometimes by twos 
and threes, struck into the trees woodman-like, some- 
times by the boxful even ; and thus we were soon 
enabled, with our Western woodsmen, to clear these 
roads even for our artillery : so that, when we eventu- 
ally reached the Cheat River, near noon, our guns joined 
our advance regiment (Steedman's) within twenty to 
thirty minutes after. 

On this route, about ten to eleven a. m., after passing 
the second mountain spur, we came upon the last camp 
of Garnett, deserted in such haste that the provisions 
were actually cooking upon the fires, and were soon de- 
voured by our half-famished men 

About ten to eleven a. m. we came upon some wag- 
ons loaded with clothing, drab overcoats, &c. ; with 
which I at once equipped our advance skirmishers, to 
deceive the enemy, as well as to protect ourselves from 
the violent storm which had been raging for several 
hours We finally discovered the Rebel wagon- 
train resting in a field in the river-bottom, about five 
hundred yards in advance, and apparently entirely un- 
suspicious of our approach. I at once directed Colonel 
Steedman, as soon as he could learn that our guns were 
near his regiment, and Dumont well up behind them, 
that he should cross carefully ; and, passing along by 
the road on the right bank, as it curved to our left, and 
was screened by the thick trees and bushes on the right 
of this road, he was to endeavor to pass to the right and 
rear of their wagons, without, as appeared possible, his 
being discovered. 

These guns of Barnett were reported to be well up, 
and Dumont just behind thern, reacty to close in some 
fifteen or twenty minutes after ; and the movement of 
Steedman commenced with every prospect of his getting 
to their rear unseen, and of capturing the whole train, 
as he moved with much boldness and discretion. But 
at this juncture a scoundrel straggler, who had crossed 
without permission, fired off his musket in the air, 
towards the wagon-train, as I could only suppose on 



36 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



purpose to drive them forward, and avoid a fight. I 
endeavored to gallop over him with my horse ; but he 
escaped down the steep bank into the river. But the 
enemy's train, for this time, was saved ; for we saw the 
wagons move on immediately after, and then two lines 
of infantry draw out to protect them ; and they started 
on the run for the next ford. 

I delayed Steedman there until most of our troops 
had closed up ; and then we moved on as rapidly as 
possible, crossing this second ford after covering with 
our fire the adjacent hills to prevent a suspected ambus- 
cade. And about two miles farther on, from a high 
hill, we came in sight of their regiments, on a regular 
run, and so near, that I ordered up the guns, directing 
the vis a tergo of a few discharges to expedite their 
movement, already characterized by one of our Western 
captains as a u long dog-trot." 

This force was still followed as rapidly as possible ; 
although two messages had already reached me from 
General Morris, each with a contingency, fortunately, 
" to stop the pursuit." I had the first message before I 
came to the first ford : it was brought by young Pritch- 
ard (son of lieutenant-colonel of Sixth Indiana), who 
had been sent back with the first flag, captured, as it 
was, under my horse's feet. This order required, that, 
if I " was not sure of reaching the enemy within two or 
three hours," I "must halt, and rest my men." The 
second message, by Serge ant-Major Fletcher of the 
Sixth Indiana, directed me to stop, and rest my men, 
unless I " was immediately upon the enemy." A third, 
by General Morris's aid (Lieut. Hines), reached me as 
I was arranging for action at Corrick's Ford, and was, 
to "stop at once, unless" I "was ready to' strike"; 
to which my reply simply was, "Wait five minutes!" 
General Morris afterwards told me, another (a fourth) 
message had been sent, — a positive order to stop at 
once (and, as I understood, by Whitelaw Reid, a Cin- 
cinnati reporter) ; but, as the General said, " This was 
not delivered, as you were found to be fighting." These 



WEST VIRGINIA. 



37 



orders were sent because General Morris had seen only 
the stragglers who u fell by the wayside" ; while I had 
the " whalebone" with me. 

Our march thus continued for about three miles from 
the second ford, till we came to another field of river- 
bottom land, and another ford. Here we saw that the 
Rebel troops had crossed, and that a part of their train 
was in the river, apparently balked ; and we soon found 
that they were making dispositions to defend this train, 
from the steep, elevated ground (about sixty to eighty 
feet above the river) on the opposite side ; the river be- 
ing some hundred and twenty yards wide and three feet 
deep at this ford. 

The advance regiments (Steedman's and next Du- 
mont's), with Barnett's artillery, were soon arranged 
along the river-bank, behind a rail fence, partially cov- 
ered by a slight screen of trees ; and our fire first 
opened at them across the river upon their more advan- 
tageous position ; and I could not force our gallant fel- 
lows, so unused to the danger, to take the slight cover 
of the bank of an old channel-wa}\ a few rods in their 
rear, — a cover such as before the war closed, however, 
with just as much of bravery, our men, on other fields, 
had learned to appreciate, and to seize on all occasions. 
We received a strong musketry-fire in return ; and soon 
their cannon opened on us, with the usual effect, or 
rather non-effect, from a much more elevated position, 
fortunately for us, for the most part ; and we replied 
more effectively with our riflemen and artillery. As, 
however, in the course of some ten to fifteen minutes, I 
discovered a break in the hill on their left, which indi- 
cated an easier ascent than by the steep bank in our 
front, I sent orders to Dumont to cross at our right, 
and move up this valley-gorge to attack them. This 
was soon proved to be impossible, (as I found after- 
wards, this slope was strewn with dead cedars,) and 
the steepness was too great directly in front. I saw 
the men flat on the ground, endeavoring to crawl up 
the bank ; and Colonel Milroy, who followed Dumont 



38 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



closely, rode up to me. and reported the hill to be en- 
tirely impracticable. I sent word by him to Dumont to 
go down the river with his regiment, and to hug the 
cover of the bank, on the side of the enemy ; and that 
he would certainly find the road below them, opposite 
our left. The firing still continued for some fifteen to 
twenty minutes longer, between our main body and the 
Rebels on the hill : our men picking off their gunners 
whenever seen through the branches of the trees. And 
at length I saw the men of Dumont moving down as 
directed, until they passed the Rebel front at the foot 
of the bank, and turned inland, to the right of the 
enemy, bringing themselves at once in rear of their posi- 
tion ; when the Rebels hastily retreated past the next 
ford, some five hundred yards distant, leaving their 
cannon, and their dead and wounded, behind them. 
And they were closely followed by Dumont's regiment 
skirmishing in their rear. 

At about the time of this retreat of the enemy from 
his position on the hill, the leading regiment (the Sixth 
Indiana) of General Morris's main column, which had 
hurried up, hearing the firing, joined us, though too late 
to share in the action. 

I crossed over immediately after Dumont's success, 
finding twenty-two heavily-loaded wagons stalled in the 
river, and a like number in the roadway made through 
an impracticable laurel-thicket on the other side, — all 
with their horses and harnesses attached. And ascend- 
ing by the rear, to the plateau they had just occupied, 
we found their cannon and caisson, with the dead gun- 
ners (seven or eight men) lying around the piece, 
mostly shot in the head, some directly above the mouth, 
the only sight our men had being through the bush 
embrasures. 

The position Garnet t had selected here was one of 
the best natural defensive sites I ever saw. It was a 
cleared field of some two hundred yards square, with a 
steep bank sixty to eighty feet down to the river. The 



WEST VIRGINIA. 



39 



bank was covered with thick undergrowth, and fringed 
at the top with trees whose branches had been cut away 
to give firing views, — embrasures, in fact, for their 
guns. On their left, a steep ravine of a V cross-section, 
filled with dead cedars, as stated, protected them, as 
we had found, completely from assault ; and on their 
right flank, as this plateau dropped to near the river 
level, the}' were covered by the broad laurel- thicket, im- 
practicable to man or beast, even to the smaller animals, 
except by roadways cut through by the axe. 

While examining the dead at this position, Major 
Gordon (just recently sergeant-major of the Ninth Indi- 
ana) came up to me, asking if I knew Garnett, saying 
an officer had just been killed at the next near ford, 
who had 64 stars on his shoulders." I at once accompa- 
nied him, crossing the ford; and, about twenty yards 
be}'ond, I found the Rebel general, R. S. Garnett, lying 
dead, and near him the body of a young lad. in the uni- 
form of the Georgia troops (gray with black facings, 
like that of our Indiana regiments) . No other signs of 
strife were near ; and I learned that they had been killed 
from a clump of bushes on our side the river-bank, by 
the fire, at about the same time, of three of our ad- 
vanced scouts. Recognizing Garnett at once, who, six 
years before, received the majority I had declined in the 
Ninth U. S. Infantry, I had Major Gordon remove and 
take care of his sword, watch, and purse (of Confede- 
rate money) , reserving for our use, as much needed, a 
fine map of Virginia, and his field-glass. 

The killed and wounded on our side were limited to 
five or six only, as they mostly fired upon us down hill. 
Of the Rebels we found about fifteen bodies, and some 
twenty to thirty wounded. There were also taken three 
flags, a fine rifled cannon, a military chest with bank 
money ready for signing, and — besides a large amount 
of valuable private property — the train to the number 
of forty-four heaviU-loaded wagons, with their horses 
and harnesses even (some hundred and fifty to two hun- 



40 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



dred in all) ; and, in the pursuit next day and the day 
after, about fifteen more loaded wagons were captured, 
or about sixt}' in all. They were loaded with clothing, 
blankets, tents, &c, and at an estimated value, as far 
as we could judge, of at least some two hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. The quartermaster at the Graf- 
ton depot afterwards told me, that there had reached 
that station, within the next two or three weeks (and 
by difficult or mountain roads) , an amount of property 
worth at least a hundred thousand dollars. And this 
was after weeks of plundering b} T the occupants of the 
adjacent farms, and after nearly all the horses and large 
amounts of other property, as I was told, had been run 
across the Ohio River, by these retiring troops, whose 
three months of service expired, for the most part, 
within one or two weeks after this action, which ended 
the first campaign in West Virginia. 

The report of the action was written and sent to 
General McClellan from Corrick's House, on the morn- 
ing of the 14th, and received by him at Huttonsville, 
Va., about thirty-five miles southeast, at "eleven 
p. m." ; when he at once telegraphed this success to 
Washington in glowing colors. 

Upon the evening of the 16th, Major Marc}*, chief of 
staff of General McClellan, came to Eliot's {en route to 
Washington) with McClellan' s reports, and the flags 
from Philippi, and requiring also those just captured, 
which, being still with the regiments in camp, he would 
not wait for, but ordered to be 4 s sent express to Wash- 
ington." 

Major Marcy had with him at this time four flags that 
had been captured at Philippi, which, with considerable 
difficulty and management, I had recovered from the 
colonels of the regiments who had them, and sent to 
General McClellan some time previously. One of them, 
I recollect, was an elegant green silk cavalry flag^, or 
guidon, with gold oullion tassels and fringe, that had 
within the week been presented to the Highland Guards 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 41 



by the ladies of Highland County ; when the captain, 
as we were told, had promised " to defend that flag 
with the last drop of his blood," &c. I presume, how- 
ever, he forgot his promise, as no one was killed in this 
rout. As this banner had on it in gold letters the 
motto, " God defend the right," I had the pleasure, 
soon after, of sending word to the ladies of Highland 
County ' 4 that God had heard and answered their 
pra} T er." 

Of the three flags taken at Corrick's Ford, one was a 
large flag of Colonel Taliaferro's Twenty-third Virginia 
Regiment ; another was a silk flag of Colonel Ramsey's 
Georgia Regiment ; and the third, taken just after the 
action, was an elegant white silk color, with silver tas- 
sels and fringe, and over the arms of Georgia the motto, 
" Cotton is king," surmounting the temple. This beau- 
tiful and unique banner has proved too much for the 
honesty of some of the people about the White House 
or the War Department ; for in the winter of 1863 and 
1864, when I found most of these other flags in the War- 
Office, this white banner had disappeared, as had also 
the green silk cavalry guidon taken at Philippi. 

Major Marc}^ proceeded to Washington, reaching 
there a day or two before the defeat of Bull Run, and 
at a most fortunate moment, as it proved, for himself 
and his chief ; for though it is certain, I believe, that 
neither McClellan nor any of his staff (not on detached 
service) had been within the range of a hostile cannon, 
if they had even heard its sound, in all these actions 
and skirmishes, yet within that week McClellan' s chief 
of staff, Major Marcy , was made Inspector-General, and 
McClellan himself the Major-General and active chief of 
our whole army, — Gen. H. W. Benham. 

When McClellan advanced up the Peninsula, 
the first resistance was made at Yorktown, the 
same place which Lord Cornwallis held. 



42 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



THE REBEL ARMY AT YORKTOWN. 

It is clear that the forces stationed here had more 
than enough to eat, — many luxuries, — and were pro- 
vided for in all that was necessary for mere camp com- 
fort, such as it is. The whole place is strewed with 
heaps of oyster-shells, empty bottles, and cans of pre- 
served fruit and vegetables, and, strange to say, there 
are an enormous number of sardine-boxes lying around. 
Privates and all seemed to have enjoyed the luxury of 
sardines in profusion. They had the excellent Rich- 
mond flour, from the Gallego mills, and Louisville packed 
beef and pork. Their exit was so sudden that their 
bread was left in their kneading-troughs, their pork over 
the fire, and biscuits half baked ; but attempts were 
made, more or less generally, to spoil the food. Here 
and there a bottle of turpentine or some other vile fluid 
was emptied over the food they could not take. The 
tents are standing, but are slashed by knives. 

The equipments and clothing of the rebel dead were 
of the most miserable kind. No attempt at uniformity 
of dress could be seen. Here and there some officer had 
a flannel stripe sewed to his pantaloons. Their buttons 
were simple bone and black fly buttons, such as are 
used for waistcoats. Here and there an officer had a 
gilt or United States artillery button. The men were 
dressed in common linsey butternut, and cotton suits, 
of the commonest and coarsest materials. The}' had 
few knapsacks, being generally supplied with a school- 
boy's satchel, sometimes of flimsy leather, but more 
commonly of cotton osnaburg, with here and there a 
rope to sling over the shoulders. Immense numbers of 
these were scattered about the woods, generally contain- 
ing a few articles of clothing and a hoe-cake. — Boston 
Journal Correspondence. 

TAKEN AND LEFT. 

In the course of the guerilla fighting of course there 
were man}' very singular scenes. Captain Montgomery, 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 43 



General Newton's Chief of Staff, and Lieutenant Baker, 
of General Franklin's staff, ventured too far into the 
woods and soon found themselves close up with the 
Hampton Legion. A question put by one of them 
revealed their character, and instantly a number of 
muskets were discharged at them. Lieutenant Baker 
escaped ; Captain Montgomery's horse, pierced by half 
a dozen bullets, fell with his rider. The Captain feigned 
dead, but when the rebels commenced robbing his body, 
he was moved to come to life, and to give the Seces- 
sionists the benefit of some testamentary opinions, — as 
Mr. Choate said when he spoke in behalf of the remains 
of the Whig party. Just at that moment a shell from one 
of our batteries — which I can't undertake to say, as the 
officers of three companies have positively assured me 
that they did it — burst upon the party. Then the cry 
was raised, 44 Shoot the Yankee!" 44 Wherefore ? " 
queried the Captain, 44 I didn't fire the shell." Then 
another shell, — whereupon the whole party skedaddled, 
Rebels in one direction, and the Captain in the other. — 
Capt. Montgomery. 

CAPTURING A GUN. 

There is an old chap in the Berdan Sharp-shooters, 
near Yorktown. known as 44 Old Seth." He is quite a 
character, and is a crack shot, one of the best in the 
regiment. His 44 instrument," as he terms it, is one of 
the heaviest telescopic rifles. The other night at roll- 
call, Old Seth non est. This was somewhat unusual, 
as the old chap was always up to time. A sergeant went 
out to hunt him up, being somewhat fearful that the old 
man had been hit. After perambulating around in the 
advance of the picket-line, he heard a low 44 hollo." 
44 Who's there?" inquired the sergeant. 44 It's me," 
responded Seth, 44 and I've captured a Secesh gun." 
44 Bring it in," said the sergeant. 44 Can't do it," ex- 
claimed Seth. 

It soon became apparent to the sergeant, that Old 



44 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Seth had the exact range of one of the enemy's 
heaviest guns, and they could not load it for fear of 
being picked off by him. Again the old man shouted . 
c * Fetch me a couple of haversacks full of grub, as this 
is my gun. and the cussed varmints sha'n't tire it again 
while the scrimmage lasts." This was done, and the old 
patriot has kept good watch over that gun. In fact, it 
is a captured gun." — N. Y. Tribune. 

THE SIAMESE TWINS. 

It is not often that two regiments, camping side by 
side for months, fall desperately in love. On the con- 
trary, quite the reverse. But between the Ninth Mas- 
sachusetts and the Sixty-second Pennsylvania there 
exists a very romantic attachment. The shanty of 
the Sixty-second is always open to the patronage of 
the Ninth, however scanty may be its supply. Does the 
Sixty-second find itself short of provisions on a march? 
Every haversack in the Ninth is opened. The men of 
the Ninth may pass through the camp of the Sixty- 
second at all times, but when one of the Three Hundred 
and Thirty-third New York, or auy other man, comes 
up to the lines, he is ordered away. 

'•How will we take Richmond?" says one of the 
Sixty-second the other day. Why, don't you know? 
The Sixty-two-th will fire, and the Ninth will charge ! " — 
Boston Journal. 

FRIENDLY PICKETING. 

We were stationed on Warwick Creek, and the 
enemy's pickets were on the opposite side, about six 
hundred yards above. They kept up a constant fire 
during the afternoon, and the way some of their bullets 
whistled past our heads, if we poked them from behind 
a tree, inclined us to believe that they had good arms, 
and understood their use. Our orders were not to fire 
back, but, in violation of orders, a stray shot would 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 45 



once in a while find its way to the opposite side, to let 
them know that we still lived. This firing was kept up 
until dark when the tongue superseded the rifle. Now 
came the tug of war. Epithets were hurled spitefully 
across Warwick's turbid waters. The burden of their 
song appeared to be, '-We will give you Bull Run. " 
"What do you think of Corinth?" u You can have 
Yorktown if you can take it." " You are five to one, 
but you can't whip us " ; — to which latter accusation one 
of our boys replied that it was so, as it took four Yan- 
kees to catch one of them for one of us to whip. They 
finally came to the conclusion, they could not out-talk 
us in that style, so they tried another tack, made all 
manner of inquiries, of how we lived, what State we 
were from, etc. They informed us that they were from 
South Carolina, and if we would not fire upon them in 
the morning, they would come out and talk with us. 

Morning came, and with it a friendly conversation, 
at first under cover of trees ; and as they gained confi- 
dence, both parties came out from cover. They told 
us that they lived principally upon fresh meat and 
1 4 sponge," — soft bread ; 4 4 shingles " — hard bread — 
had played out with them. Salt was not within their 
limits, it being twenty dollars a sack. Coffee could not 
be got, — it being a luxury not enjoyed b}' a soldier. 
We asked them if they had any 44 salt-junk." No, 
they had not got down to pickled mule yet. — A Fall 
River Soldier. 

The " change of base " closed in the battle of 
Malvern Hill. Here is General McClellan's own 
account of it, and there follows the narrative of an 
artillery officer. 

GEN. McCLELLAN's ACCOUNT OF MALVERN HILL. 

The position selected for resisting the further advance 
of the enemy, on the 1st of Jul}', was with the left and 



46 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



centre of our lines resting on Malvern Hill, while the 
right curved backward through a wooded countiy toward 
a point below Haxall's, on James River. Malvern Hill 
is an elevated plateau, about a mile and a half by three 
fourths of a mile in area, well cleared of timber, and 
with several converging roads running over it. In front 
are numerous defensible ravines, and the ground slopes 
gradually to the north and east to the woodland, giving 
clear range for artillery in those directions. Toward 
the northwest the plateau falls off more abruptly into a 
ravine which extends to James River. From the posi- 
tion of the enemy his most obvious line of attack would 
be from the direction of Richmond and White-Oak 
Swamp, and would almost of necessity strike in upon 
the left wing. Here, therefore, the lines were strength- 
ened by massing the troops and collecting the principal 
part of the artillery. Porter's corps held the left of the 
line, — S}*kes's division on the left, Morrell's on the 
right, — with the artillery of his two divisions advanta- 
geously posted, and the artillery of the reserve so dis- 
posed on the high ground that a concentrated fire of some 
sixty guns could be brought to bear on any point in his 
front or left. Colonel Tyler had also, with great exer- 
tion, succeeded in getting two of his siege-guns in posi- 
tion on the highest part of the hill. Couch's division 
was placed on the right of Porter's ; next came Kearney 
and Hooker; next Sedgwick and Richardson; next 
Smith and Slocum ; then the remainder of Keyes's corps, 
extending by a backward curve nearly to the river. 
The Pennsylvania Reserve Corps was held in reserve, 
and stationed behind Porter's and Couch's position. 
One brigade of Porter's was thrown to the left, on the 
low ground, to protect that flank from an}^ movement 
direct from the Richmond road. The line was very 
strong along the whole front of the upper plateau, but 
thence to the extreme right, the troops were more de- 
ployed. This formation was imperative, as an attack 
would probably be made upon our left. The right was 
rendered as secure as possible by slashing the timbers, 



M cCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 47 



and by barricading the roads. Commodore Rodgers, 
commanding the flotilla on James River, placed his gun- 
boats so as to protect our flanks, and to command the 
approaches from Richmond. Between nine and ten 
a.m., the enemy commenced feeling along our whole 
left wing with his artillery and skirmishers, as far to the 
right as Hooker's division. About two o'clock a column 
of the enemy was observed moving toward our right, 
with the skirt of woods in front of Heintzelman's corps, 
but beyond the range of artillery. Arrangements were 
at once made to meet the anticipated attack in that 
quarter, but though the column w r as long, occupying 
more than two hours in passing, it disappeared, and was 
not again heard of. The presumption is, that it retired 
by the rear, and participated in the attack afterwards 
made on our left. About three p.m., a heavy fire of 
artillery opened on Kearney's left and Couch's division, 
speedily followed up by a brisk attack of infantry on 
Couch's front. The artillery was replied to with good 
effect by our own, and the infantry of Couch's division 
remained lying on the ground until the advancing col- 
umn was within short musket range, when they sprang 
to their feet and poured in a deadly volley, which en- 
tirely broke the attacking force, and drove them in dis- 
order back on their own ground. This advantage was 
followed up until we had advanced the right of our lines 
some seven or eight hundred 3-ards, and rested upon a 
thick clump of trees, giving us a stronger position and 
a better fire. Shortly after four o'clock, the firing 
ceased along the whole front, but no disposition was 
evinced on the part of the enemy to withdraw from the 
field. Caldwell's brigade, having been detached from 
Richardson's division, was stationed upon Couch's right 
by General Porter, to whom he had been ordered to re- 
port. The whole line was surveyed by the General, 
and everything held in readiness to meet the coming 
attack. At six o'clock the enemy suddenly opened 
upon Couch and Porter with the whole strength of his 
artillery, and at once began pushing forward his column 



48 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



of attack, to cam' the hill. Brigade after brigade 
formed under cover of the woods, started at a run to 
cross the open space, and charged our batteries ; but 
the heavy tire of our guns, and the cool and steady 
volleys of our infantry, in even' case, sent them reeling 
back to shelter, and covered the ground with their dead 
and wounded. In several instances our infantry with- 
held their fire until the attacking columns, which rushed 
through the storm of canister and shell from our artil- 
lery, had reached within a few yards of our lines. 
They then poured in a single volley, and dashed for- 
ward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners and colors, 
and driving the routed columns in confusion from the 
field. About seven o'clock, as fresh troops were accu- 
mulating in front of Porter and Couch. Meagher and 
Sickles were sent with their brigades, as soon as it was 
considered prudent to withdraw any portion of Sumner's 
and Heintzelman's troops, to reinforce that part of the 
line, and hold the positions. These brigades relieved 
such portions of Porters corps and Couch's division as 
had expended their ammunition, and batteries from the 
reserve were pushed forward to replace those whose 
boxes were empty. Until dark the enemy persisted in 
his efforts to take the position so tenaciously defended ; 
but despite his vast numbers, his repeated and desper- 
ate attacks were repulsed with fearful loss, and dark- 
ness ended the battle of Malvern Hill, though it was 
not until after nine o'clock that the artillery ceased its 
fire. During the whole. Commodore Rodgers added 
greatly to the discomfiture of the enemy by throwing 
shells among his reserves and advancing columns. As 
the army, in its movement from the Chickahominy to 
Harrison's Landing, was continually occupied in march- 
ing by night and fighting by day. its commanders found 
no opportunity for collecting data which would enable 
them to give exact returns of casualties in each engage- 
ment. — McClellan's Official Report. 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 49 



THE BATTLE OF MALVERN HILL, AS SEEN BY AN 
OFFICER OF ARTILLERY. 

The Jul}' sun shone clear and bright over Malvern 
Hill, — in the words of General McClellan's Report, 
" an elevated plateau about a mile and a half by three 
fourths of a mile in area." Through this plain ran the 
road from White-Oak Swamp and the Chickahominy 
region, along which the Rebel advance would come. 
To the left, much below the plateau on which the Mal- 
vern mansion-house stood, was the Richmond road, and 
to the left and rear, by Turkey Island Bend, the James 
River was laid like a bed of silver under the warm 
morning sun. Woods skirted the northern side of these 
fields, and about two thirds of a mile from this boundary 
our main line of defence was posted. Here the light 
field-batteries were stationed, with their infantry sup- 
ports lying on the ground between their several posi- 
tions. The earth swelled up to this line, then fell gently, 
northerly and through the open plain rising again to- 
ward the line of woods. But the woods were some- 
what lower than the swell on which the guns stood, thus 
giving the vantage, so dear to the artillery, of a slightly 
plunging fire. This position was on the left of the Chick- 
ahominy road, and was held by Porter's Fifth Corps. On 
the right of the road the woods intruded more upon the 
position, and Couch held this ground, lookiug rather 
obliquely toward the main field, where the brunt of the 
Rebel attack afterwards was felt. Porter's troops had 
been severely punished at Gaines's Mills, and, smarting 
under this defeat, they were in a good fighting mood, 
though they had lost heavily. 

We, that is Porter's corps, had bivouacked on the 
hill near Malvern House, and his arrangements were 
made after an early breakfast. McClellan with his staff 
and General Barnard rode over the field, and inspected 
the order of battle, as the corps commanders and en- 
gineers had laid it out. " Very well, Fitz," (i. e. Fitz 

4 



50 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



John Porter.) "there will be some axes up presently, 
and you may cut and slash wherever you please." This 
was said in the familiar, almost affectionate tone he 
used with the old West Point comrades whom he knew, 
and who trusted in him. McClellan never lost his hold 
upon the affections of the Army of the Potomac, an or- 
ganization which grew up under his forming hand. 

The General's counsel referred to some timber upon 
the left, which was soon " slashed " to prevent the enemy 
from turning the position by a flank attack. 

It is hard to comprehend that, while you have a new 
world created on the moment within the lines of your 
own army, there is just beyond the skirmish lines and 
pickets another world, — your enemy's. — differing from 
and yet very like to your own. While we had been 
marching up the above-mentioned road and spreading 
our lines for miles on either side the main field, — much 
as if a lobster should spread his claws, then convert his 
tail into more claws spreading wider and wider. — the 
enemy had been busy within his territory. Between 
these two sections, busy with life and action, there is a 
debatable land, dark under the coming storm-cloud, 
quiet amid the forces hurrying on either side, heavy with 
the mists of death. 

The skirmishers are men deployed at wide intervals, 
elastic feelers the army puts forth, to meet — it knows 
not what. The assailants push, the defenders recoil, 
until the main body receives them, and feels the force of 
the attacking party. About nine o'clock we felt the 
enemy's approach, and for five or six hours he was oc- 
cupied in running his feelers along our lines, seeking 
the weakest points, and making his dispositions of at- 
tack. Meanwhile the gunboats from the James River 
and our heavy guns posted in the rear threw great 
shells over our heads. These shells sometimes acciden- 
tally damaged ourselves, but generally they burst in the 
woods where the Rebels were forming, or alono: the line 
of their march, and with excellent effect. The direc- 
tion of the fire was controlled by the Signal Corps. 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 51 



" What did you do, in all these six hours? " That is 
the hardest question of all. To be dressed for an even- 
ing party and to wait a half-hour for the guests, is not 
easy ; to be read}' and to wait five or six hours, when 
the guests bring Minies, and the chance of a bayonet- 
thrust, tries all the powers of a man. The line of 
privates were kept at their fixed posts ; the company of- 
ficers must be near by ; the field-officers took a little 
wider range ; general and staff officers strolled about at 
will, when not bus}' with the minor details of the plan 
of defence. Every bit of shade, a steep bank, closed 
and deserted houses, fence covers, single trees, — each 
became coignes of vantage where groups of waiting offi- 
cers could while away the weary interval. Criticism of 
battles and generals flies fast and furious. Men sore 
with a week's fighting, or exhausted by night marches, 
are not gentle in their estimates of men or things. 
Every incident is made much of. General Hooker 
comes up the road with his staff. His reputation was 
then making, and a bright halo rightly followed the ad- 
mirable field-officer. He had not then been tried and 
found wanting in the higher, the highest qualities of a 
general. His presence, so gallant and soldier-like, was 
just becoming known through the w T hole army. tk That 
man, — don't you know Fighting Joe Hooker? Give 
him a division, — he knows what to do with it. I like to 
see a general who knows what he is about. I am sick 
of the indecision of a man who is always pulling at his 
whiskers." This allusion to the well-known habits of a 
worthy and most respectable Brigadier, never born to 
command, caused a general smile. The speaker never 
criticised another battle, for at sunset he was wrapped 
in his blanket. 

What good fellows they were ! — Griffin with the best 
M soldier's eye" 1 of them all, now in his first week with 
his brigade ; Butterfield, the one volunteer who mas- 
tered the technique of field tactics, even better than the 
regulars did ; — and the Colonels, Woodbury of Michi- 
1 Joinini thus characterizes the true soldierly intuition. 



52 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



gan, a tight-made red-bearded Saxon at the head of a 
model regiment, and McQuaid, a solid New-Yorker. 
Cass, the Irish leader of a full Irish American regiment, 
had fallen at Gaines's ; so had Gove, the thoroughly edu- 
cated Massachusetts Colonel ; so had Black, of Pennsyl- 

vania, with 44 Forward, Sixty-ninth! Ch " on his 

lips. The awful word was never sj llabled, and another 
led his regiment to the charge. And among the lesser 
officers, lesser in rank, but not in the importance of their 
service, for the}' wielded the mighty arm in this tight, 
were the Lieutenants commanding batteries of field 
artillery; — Ames, one of the model officers from West 
Point onward, Kingsbiny, and Hazlitt, — afterwards 
killed at Antietam, now handling the old batter}^ of in- 
struction from West Point, which Griffin had vacated 
for his promotion to a brigade of infantry. Waterman 
of Rhode Island and Phillips of Massachusetts are 
among the volunteers. Porter was himself an old offi- 
cer of artilleiy ; he knew the latent power of that arm, 
and to-day would use it to turn back the last attack Lee 
and Jackson would have the strength to make. 

There was a farm-house over on the left, and just in 
rear of the line of batteries. The ice-house had* been 
opened, a pitcher and glasses had been seized from the 
household, abandoned by the housekeeper, and thirsty 
warriors cooled themselves with the best of all drinks, 
now made better and more precious b} T rarit} T . Even 
whiskey or the strength-giving brandy could not com- 
pete with ice-water here. Haversacks were opened, 
and he who found a sandwich or a cold mutton-chop 
was happy ; he who had hard-tack made the most of it. 

The day wears on ; a breeze from the river tempers 
the fierce heat of the Southern sun. The sound of our 
great guns mingles with the scattering shots of skir- 
mishers, and the stealthy bullets of Rebel sharp-shooters 
now beginning to take effect as the intervals lessened. 
By three o'clock the enemy had reached his positions, 
and his artillery opened a brisk fire upon our right and 
centre. Almost immediately, the woods bordering out 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 53 



main field swarmed with gray and butternut coats, and 
regiments stepped briskly forward, firing as they 
moved. Our batteries spoke quick and often. Shrap- 
nell shells and case shot, fired with time fuses, burst 
and scattered their bullets just in front of the advancing 
ranks. Here and there a wide rent opens in the ordered 
files ; it never closes, for another gap disorders the men 
who would try to fiil the first. On the left, where our 
infantr}' are solid and not impeded by the artillery, the} 7 
move obliquely forward, and add their galling fire to the 
crash of the shells from the guns. 

I have said that the woods came forward nearer to 
Couch, and his position obliqued somewhat upon the 
main field of battle. His infantry were also bearing 
upon the Rebel lines now coming from the woods and 
seeking to push forward to the line of batteries on the 
swell of ground which was the main position to be held. 
Couch's men rushed gallantly forward, with shouts and 
cheers, and went beyond the intended lines of defence. 
The General, alert and brave, but cool, was not carried 
away by the enthusiasm. After the enenry were re- 
pulsed, riding up, and switching his horse with a little 
stick, he said eagerlv, u That charge was all wrong! 
Captain, if I am killed, be sure to say that I never com- 
manded that movement." 

No troops can stand such a fire, and the Rebel 
brigades fell back under the cover of the woods after 
half an hour or more of courageous effort. They came 
out singly and picked up the wounded. On our side 
we had not as yet suffered much. This was a smart 
little action, but only the prelude to the battle of Mal- 
vern Hill. 

Comrades now meet again and exchange experiences. 
The different arms congratulate each other for deeds, 
observed perhaps better from points a little distant 
from their actual occurrence. The jealousies of camp 
life melt away in the more cordial service of the field ; 
the three arms become as one in supporting the whole 
body. The cavalry is the wings and eyes of the army. 



54 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



The infantry is the back-bone, the enduring frame, the 
ready fingers which never fail in the constant service 
required of it. On its firm courage and patient endu- 
rance the final success of all troops and of every cam- 
paign must depend. But in certain contingencies, not 
many, but important, the artillery becomes the leading- 
arm, and turns the fortune of the day. When a great 
force is to be concentrated on one point, either for at- 
tack or defence, then the power of guns and the skill of 
the men who handle them become conspicuous. 

There was no better soldier on the field than Colonel 
Woodbury, commanding the Fourth Michigan regiment. 
We met in this pause. "Now, Colonel. }T>u see what the 
artillery can do !" ' i Yes, I am glad to see an artillery 
fight. I never saw the power of field guns before." 
At sunset his body was borne to the rear, and two days 
after, his spirited little bay. christened tc Baby," was 
sent to his widow, sorrowing in her home at the West. 

The field was now comparatively quiet, but not com- 
fortable. The gun-boats had ceased firing as the lines 
joined battle. The Rebels had crept up and gained 
little points of cover, from which sharp-shooters might 
give you that most miserable of deaths by one single 
assassinating bullet. An officer would hardly lift his 
field-glass when " whizz" would sing a minie, — 4w phft" 
it would thud into the brown earth, and a tiny column 
of dust would mark the spot. This was not pleasant. 

Lee's army, as well as McClellan's, had been roughly 
handled in the half-dozen engagements of the week. 
Magruder's and lingers divisions were fresh, and they 
meant to carry Malvern Hill by fiery valor and the 
sheer force of their onset. All the afternoon their 
troops were massing, and our infantry sent us word that 
the rebels were bringing up batteries in the woods 
directly on our left front. We began to shell the 
woods. Soon their guns opened fire from the shelter 
of the trees bordering the main field, where the first 
attack had been repulsed. This artillery fire was in- 
tended to cover and assist Magruder's final attack. It 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 



55 



was a pretty range, hardly twelve hundred yards. Our 
shells burst regularly, sometimes at the very muzzles of 
their guns, now marked by their own surging smoke. 

The sun's rays were drooping, but at six o'clock 
there was time to win or lose a battle. The masses of 
men who had been gathering opposite the main field 
poured om from the woods. Regiments in line reached 
out until they became brigades, and the brigades multi- 
plied into divisions. All in good order they came, col- 
ors flying, officers at their posts, men elbow to elbow, 
marching as if on parade, the front lines firing as they 
marched. But a thousand yards under your enemy's 
cool and regular fire makes a long course of attack. 
The steps are many, and at every step men drop. The 
brave are wounded, cowards faint. Our guns, which 
had been elevated at three degrees, were lowered to 
two and a half, to two, to one and a half, and were 
trained in the faces of the great mass drawing nearer 
and nearer. Shrapnell shells and case shot, bursting 
just in front of the coming lines, showered down leaden 
balls and fragments of broken iron. The ranks were 
rent open ; men were winged and hipped ; but worse 
than the individual losses was the disorder, physical 
and moral, the breaking and jangling of the nice ma- 
chine built up with such careful skill. Regiments lost 
their regimen ; colors were stricken down, officers killed 
or disabled, men bewildered, made hopeless, scattered 
under the merciless shells and the converging bullets of 
the infantry. It seemed like thrusting a fagot of icicles 
against white-heated iron. Your weapon fails, and yon 
know not wmere or how. The force and organization, 
well enough when not overtasked, become naught before 
a vastly superior force. 

The sight was dreadful ; the sound was worse. The 
air was torn by explosions ; not split, but rent and torn, 
hy so main' discharges, into jagged vibrations, — weird 
and terrible. All these sounds swelled into one mighty 
roar. 

Toward sunset, the wind, which had purified the 



56 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



afternoon, died away, and left the guns and musketry 
in their own atmosphere. The increasing volumes of 
smoke rolled over the field and hung over the tree-tops, 
murky, dark, and dismal. The cheery light of day was 
gone, and the evening was beclouded with this infernal 
darkness, lighted hy blazing gunpowder. The attack- 
ing party did better under these conditions. They 
crept up under cover of the smoke until within one or 
two hundred yards of our guns. Then the batteries 
rattled out canister shot, deadly at close range, and 
drove them back. Gradually the enemy's fire slack- 
ened, as his gallant but ill-planned effort failed. 

About twenty guns did the most of the work ; but they 
were relieved in some cases two and three times, as the 
batteries expended their ammunition. Ames had light 
twelve-pounders, the very best field gun for a close en- 
counter. Kingsbury's West Point battery was relieved 
by Weeden's of Rhode Island, commanded by Lieut. 
Waterman, and a section of Phillips's. 

These few minutes of description cover some three 
hours of work. And, frightful as it seems in imagina- 
tion, it was done much as other work is done. Reso- 
lute men worked together, performing simple acts under 
pressure of the most exciting circumstances. Mistakes 
were made, and righted. The result was a great 
achievement and heroic, but the deeds of individuals 
were simple, and done in a simple way. A soldier 
doing his duty thinks little of himself. Even the horses 
submit patiently to the inevitable. My own horse 
dragged wearily about. It did not seem strange, as his 
week's service had been hard, that he would not answer 
to the spur. But General Griffin, coming up, says, 
" Captain, your horse is wounded." Looking down, I 
saw that one hinder leg was soaked in blood. He 
went to the rear carrying the ball, which was afterward 
extracted. 

One forgets the more horrible scenes, or perhaps 
rather ignores them. I could not have said whether 
the livid corpses were Caucasian or African, for I did 



McCLELLAN AND THE PENINSULA. 



57 



not look at them as I rode among them. And little 
bits of action which were dramatic live in the memory, 
though the}' might be trifles in historic importance. A 
section of New York guns was on our right, beginning 
Couch's left. Their position obliqued their direction 
over the heads of some infantry. The fire looked high 
as the shells swept across. "At what elevation are 
you firing, Lieutenant? " " Five degrees ! " " Five de- 
grees, 3'ou might as well turn around and fire into the 
James River." " 'T is General Couch's order, sir ! " 
Just then the General rode along. " General, these 
guns are wasting their ammunition away over the heads 
of the enemy." " But the infantry sent word the shells 
burst among our own ranks." 44 General, the infantry 
alwa}'s think themselves hurt when fired over, whether 
we point high or low. If you want to hurt the enemy, 
you must take the risk, and put the guns down where 
they will tell." 64 Well, Captain, do as 3-011 think best 
with them." And they were laid at a degree and a half. 

My own command had been relieved, batten- by 
battery. I went up to the centre of the line and 
found General Porter, to know if there were any fur- 
ther commands. Beside the corps commander was 
General Hunt, chief of the artilleiy reserve of the Army 
of the Potomac. At the rear there was a battery of 
thirty-two-pounder howitzers, big light pieces, which 
throw canister by the hatful. Porter wanted them 
brought up, but Hunt was doubtful whether the can- 
noneers were experienced enough to be trusted in the 
thick of that light. The}- were talking quietly, even 
in the din around them. Porter said very earnestly, 
" Why, Hunt, the sound of those guns will fill their 
ears with terror." It was so unconscious, and so melo- 
dramatic, that the humor of the scene has alwa} s lin- 
gered in my mind. 

It was late in the evening. I turned down the road 
toward Malvern House, in the rear. There were steep 
banks on either side as the way descended. Bang ! 
bang ! a battery on my left was firing a whole round. 



58 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



I shivered with horror ; and almost with the thought 
my horse sprang up the bank and bounded into the 
space between guns and limbers. 44 Who is in com- 
mand here? " A sergeant gave the well-known name 
of a crack officer in the horse artillery, and he came up, 
almost at the moment. 4k Captain, you are firing right 
through our own line." 44 D — n it, I can't help it. I 
was ordered to fire when I was fired on, and the bul- 
lets came in here ; I could not see." 44 Cease firing ! " 
No serious harm came from it. A second line of guns 
had been posted with orders to open on friend and foe 
alike if our first line had given way. 

After nine o'clock, the uproar ceased. I found my 
own mess, and ate a rude but welcome supper. We 
lay down on a tarpaulin gun-cover, but not to sleep ; 
for the adjutant-general soon found his way, by the light 
of a lantern, to this uneasy couch. He brought orders 
to move, and before midnight and for all night we were 
marching to Harrison's Landing. 

We brought off our own wounded and dead. In the 
early morning, Averill held the line our batteries had 
defended so well, and then quietly left the field of 
Malvern Hill, thickly strewn with the Rebel dead. — 
Capt. Weeden, First R. I. Artillery. 

During the same summer Banks was in command 
in the valley of the Shenandoah. Here is a story 
of that campaign.: — 

FIGHT AT WINCHESTER. 

Though our men were exhausted, when we came by 
General Banks, and were ordered hy him to the double- 
quick, the whole regiment seemed electrified and went 
on with a will for the fight. We passed the Twenty- 
seventh Maryland drawn up in line of battle, and things 
looked serious. Companies A and C were thrown out 
as skirmishers, and the rest of the battalion acted as 



WEST VIRGINIA. 



59 



supports to the line of skirmishers and to the batteries. 
As we came into the street a battery at the other end 
opened npon ns with shells, that came raking along 
furiously in perfect range. We stove in the street 
fences and pushed along under some shelter. On we 
passed through people's gardens, and gave the natives 
some new notions on the subject of demolishing fences. 
Bert's regular battery and Cotheau's New York soon 
got into position, and we drove the enemy like sheep a 
mile or two out of the town, — not without some com- 
pliments from their guns. The firing was good on both 
sides. At one time we noticed some Rebel cavahy pour- 
ing round on our flank ; a piece was sent out to treat their 
case, and the first shell struck in the very centre of 
them, — it would have hit the bull's-eye. — A member of 
the 2d Mass. 

HOW GENERAL BANKS'S ARMY WAS SAVED. 

You have probably heard b} r this time of the three 
days' fighting from Strasburg and Front Royal to Mar- 
tinsburg. Our company and Company B were ordered to 
Front Royal, in the mountains, twelve miles from Stras- 
burg, last Friday, and when we got within two miles 
of our destination we heard cannonading. The Major 
ordered the baggage to stop, and our two companies 
dashed on, and found several companies of our infantry 
and two pieces of artillery engaged with several thou- 
sand of the enemy. Just as we arrived on the field, 
Colonel Parem, who had command of our forces, rode 
up to me and ordered me to take one man and the two 
fastest horses in the company and ride for dear life to 
General Banks's head-quarters in Strasburg for rein- 
forcements. The direct road to Strasburg was occu- 
pied by the enemy, so I was obliged to ride round by 
another, seventeen miles. I rode the' seventeen miles 
in fifty-five minutes. General Banks did n't seem to 
think it very serious, but ordered one regiment of in- 
fantry and two pieces of artillery off. I asked General 



60 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Banks for a fresh horse to rejoin nry company, and he 
gave me the best horse I ever rode, and I started back. 
I came out on the Front Royal turnpike, about two miles 
this side of where I left our men. Saw two men stand- 
ing in the road, and their horses standing by the fence. 
I supposed they were our pickets. They did n't halt me, 
so I asked them if the}' were pickets. The}' said no. 
Says I, "Who are you?" "We are part of General 
Jackson's staff." I supposed that they were only joking. 
I laughed and asked them where Jackson was. They 
said he was in the advance. I left them and rode to 
Front Royal, till I overtook a soldier, and asked him 
what regiment he belonged to. He said he belonged to 
the Eighth Louisiana., I asked how large a force they 
had, and the reply was " twenty thousand." I then 
turned back and drew my revolver, expecting a des- 
perate fight or a Southern jail ; but the officers in the 
road didn't stop me, and I was lucky enough not to 
meet an}' of their pickets. But if it was not a narrow 
escape, then I don't know what is. When I got out of 
the enemy's lines I rode as fast as the horse could carry 
me to General Banks, and reported what I had seen 
and heard. He said I had saved the army. In less 
than an hour the whole army was in motion towards 
Winchester. — C. H. Greenleaf, 5th N. Y. Cav. 



CHAPTER V. 



ANTIETAM. 



FTER the six days' change of base, General 



McClellan made Harrison's Landing his 
base of supplies; — but he afterwards occupied 
Malvern Hill again, and on the 5th of August 
wrote from that place to Washington, that with 
reinforcements he could march his army to Rich- 
mond in five days. 

To which General Halleck, in command at 
Washington, replied by telegraph, " I have no rein- 
forcements to send you," and immediately after- 
wards bade him send cavalry and artillery up to 
the Potomac at Acquia Creek again, saying, " It is 
reported that Jackson is moving North with a very 
large force." He had been already ordered to 
withdraw the whole army to Acquia Creek (below 
Washington), and had, on the 4th of August, 
protested against this change. 

The country and the President took the strategic 
" change of base " as an acknowledgment of defeat, 
and as in fact defeat. This General McClellan 
never acknowledged. General Pope, who had 




62 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



been summoned from the West, was directed to 
defend Washington ; and as fast as the army 
could be hurried back from the James River, which 
was now open to the Union steamboats, it was 
placed under his command. Meanwhile, the Rebel 
army again threatened Washington. The forts 
erected by McClellan on the southern side of the 
Potomac were its protection. But beyond them, — 
with his army but just back from the James River, 
— on almost the same ground as the battle of the 
year before, General Pope fought Generals Stone- 
wall Jackson and Longstreet, and was badly beaten. 
Meanwhile General Lee. who probably never in- 
tended to attack that strong line of forts, had taken 
the larger part of his army northward, so as to 
march around them, and to attack the Northern 
Capitol, or the Northern States, as he might find 
best, by crossing the Potomac, and moving thence 
either on Washington or on Philadelphia. 

A second defeat at Bull Run discouraged the 
country, and perhaps the army, as much as that of 
a year before. Rightly or wrongly, the army and 
the country conceived a great contempt for General 
Tope, who had lost this battle. It was supposed — 
as it proved very unjustly — that General Fitz John 
Porter, one of the ablest officers in the army, had 
refused his best assistance in the battle. Presi- 
dent Lincoln, with the magnanimity which always 
showed itself in his character, was willing to ac- 
knowledge that he had made a mistake, — and 



AX TIE T AM. 



63 



placed McClellan again at the head of the army, 
which now had to defend Washington on the west. 
Under him the battle of Antietam was fought on 
the 17th of September. 

OPEXING OF THE BATTLE. 

The night of the 16th was passed by both armies 
with the expectation of a heavy battle in the morning. 
Few officers found relief from anxiety, for it was be- 
lieved by mam' that it might be a turning-point in the 
war. Only the commander-in-chief of the National 
army seems to have had a lofty faith that all would be 
well. He retired to his room at a little past ten o'clock, 
and did not leave it until eight o'clock the next morn- 
ing, when the surrounding hills had been echoing the 
sounds of battle which had been raging within a mile of 
head-quarters for three hours. Then, with some of his 
aids, he walked to a beautiful grove on the brow of a 
declivity near Pry's, overlooking the Antietam, and 
watched the battle on the right for about two hours, 
when he mounted his horse and rode away to Porter's 
division, on the right, where he was greeted, as usual, 
by the hearty cheers of his admiring soldiers. 

The contest was opened at dawn by Hooker, with 
about eighteen thousand men. He made a vigorous 
attack on the Confederate left, commanded by Jackson. 
Doubleday was on his right, Meade on his left, and 
Ricketts in his centre. His first object was to push the 
Confederates back through a line of woods, and seize 
the Hagerstown road and the woods beyond it in the 
vicinity of the Bunker church, where Jackson's line lay. 
The contest was obstinate and severe. The National 
batteries on the east side of the Antietam poured an en- 
filading fire on Jackson that galled him very much, and 
it was not long before the Confederates were driven with 
heavy loss beyond the first line of woods, and across an 
open field, which was covered thickly in the morning 
with standing corn. 



64 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Hooker now advanced his centre under Meade, to 
seize the Hagerstown road and the woods beyond. They 
were met by a murderous fire from Jackson, who had 
just been reinforced by Hood's refreshed troops, and had 
brought up his reserves. These issued in great num- 
bers from the woods, and fell heavily upon Meade in the 
cornfield. Hooker called upon Doubleday for aid, and 
a brigade under the gallant General Hart surf was in- 
stantly forwarded at the double-quick, and passed across 
the cornfield in the face of a terrible storm of shot and 
shell. It fought desperately for half an hour unsup- 
ported, when its leader fell severely wounded. In the 
meanwhile. Mansfield's corps had been ordered up to 
the support of Hooker, and while the divisions of 
Williams and Greene of that corps were deploying, their 
brave commander was mortally wounded. 1 

This brave and good man was killed, almost 
immediately after the battle began, and General 
Williams took command of the Twelfth Corps. 
For about two hours the battle raged with varied 
success. But the Union troops gradually drove 
the left wing of their enemy back into a line of 
woods. At about nine o'clock General Sedgwick's 
division arrived, as a reinforcement. It passed 
diagonally to the front across an open space before 
General Williams's first division, and this division 
was withdrawn for a time. Entering the woods 
and driving the enemy before them, the first line 
was met in the woods by heavj T musketry and a 
fire of shell. Meanwhile a stray column of the 

1 I take this concise statement of the opening of the hattle 
from Mr. Lossing's admirable book, because he had the advantage, 
which I have not had, of personal acquaintance with the scene. — 
E. E. H. 



ANTIETAM. 



65 



enemy had crowded back General Greene, so that 
their left flank was exposed. General Howard 
faced the third line to the rear preparatory to a 
change of front to meet this advancing column. 
But his men, exposed, both in front and on the left, 
to a destructive fire which they could not return, 
gave way, and were soon followed by the first and 
second lines. % 

General Gorman's brigade, however, and one 
regiment of General Dana's, soon rallied, and 
checked the enemy's advance on the right. On 
General Gorman's left the second and third lines 
formed, and met the advance of the enemy with a 
heavy fire. This fire and the Union batteries on 
the left, which were able to open as soon as the 
infantry withdrew, threw the enemy back into the 
woods again. As these movements went on, Gen- 
erals Sedgwick and Dana and Hooker were all 
wounded and were taken from the field. General 
Howard took General Sedgwick's command, and 
General Meade took General Hooker's. 

General McClellan's report of the continuation 
of the battle is in these words : — 

FRENCH AND RICHARDSON. 

While the conflict was so obstinately raging on the 
right, General French was pushing his division against 
the enemy still further to the left. This division crossed 
the Antietam at the same ford as General Sedgwick, 
and immediately in his rear. Passing the stream in 
three columns, the division marched about a mile from 

5 



66 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



the ford, — then, facing to the left, moved in three lines 
towards the enemy. . . . The division was first assailed 
by a fire of artillery, but steadily advanced, driving in 
the enenry's skirmishers, and encountered the infantry 
in some force at the group of houses near Roulette's 
farm. General Weber's brigade gradually advanced 
with an unwavering front, and drove the enemy from 
their position about the houses. 

While General Weber was hotly engaged with the 
first line of the enemy, General French received orders 
to push on with renewed* vigor to make a diversion in 
favor of the attack on the right. Leaving the new 
troops, who had been thrown into some confusion from 
their march through cornfields, over fences, &c, to form 
as a reserve, he ordered the brigade of General Kimball 
to the front, passing to the left of General Weber. The 
enemy were pressed back to near the crest of the hill, 
where he was encountered in greater strength, posted in 
a sunken road, forming a natural rifle-pit, running in a 
northwesterly direction. In a cornfield in rear of this 
road were also strong bodies of the enemy. As the line 
reached the crest of this hill, a galling fire was opened 
upon it from the sunken road and cornfield. Here a 
terrific fire of musketry burst from both lines, and the 
battle raged along the whole line with great slaughter. 

The enemy attempted to turn the left of the line, but 
were met by the Seventh Virginia and One Hundred 
Thirty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers and repulsed. 
Foiled in this, the enemy made a determined assault on 
the front, but w r ere met by a charge from our lines, 
which drove them back with some loss, leaving in our 
hands some three hundred prisoners and several stand 
of colors. The enemy, having been repulsed by the ter- 
rible execution of the batteries and the musketry fire on 
the extreme right, now attempted to assist the attack 
on General French's division by assailing him on his 
right, and endeavoring to turn his flank ; but this attack 
was met and checked by the Fourteenth Indiana and 
Eighth Ohio Volunteers, and by canister from Captain 



ANTIETAM. 



67 



Tompkins's battery, First Rhode Island Artillery. Hav- 
ing been under an almost continuous fire for nearly four 
hours, and their ammunition being nearly exhausted, 
this division now took position immediately below the 
crest of the heights on which they had so gallantly 
fought, the enemy making no attempt to regain their 
lost ground. 

On the left of General French, General Richardson's 
division was hotly engaged. Having crossed the Antie- 
tam about 9.30 a. m., at the ford crossed by the other 
divisions of Sumner's corps, it moved on a line nearly 
parallel to the Antietam, and formed in a ravine be- 
hind the high grounds overlooking Roulette's house ; 
the Second (Irish) Brigade, commanded b} T General 
Meagher, on the right, the Third Brigade, commanded 
by General Caldwell, on his left, and the brigade com- 
manded by Colonel Brooks, Fifty-third Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, in support. As the division moved forward 
to take its position on the field, the enemy directed a 
fire of artillery against it, but, owing to the irregularities 
of the ground, did but little damage. 

Meagher's brigade, advancing steadily, soon became 
engaged with the enemy posted to the left and in front 
of Roulette's house. It continued to advance under a 
heavy fire nearly to the crest of the hill overlooking Pi- 
per's house, the enem}^ being posted in a continuation 
of the sunken road, and cornfield, before referred to. 
Here the brave Irish brigade opened upon the enemy a 
terrific musketry fire. All of General Sumner's corps 
was now engaged, General Sedgwick's on the right, 
General French in the centre, and General Richardson 
on the left. The Irish brigade sustained its well-earned 
reputation. After suffering terribly in officers and men, 
and strewing the ground with their enemies as they 
drove them back, their ammunition nearly expended, 
and their commander, General Meagher, disabled by 
the fall of his horse, shot under him, this brigade was 
ordered to give place to General Caldwell's brigade, 
which advanced to a short distance in its rear. The 



68 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



lines were passed by the Irish brigade, breaking by 
company to the rear, and General Caldwell's, by com- 
pany to the front, as steadily as on drill. Colonel 

Brooks's brigade now became the second line. 

The ground over which General Richardson's and 
French's divisions were fighting was very irregular, in- 
tersected by numerous ravines, hills covered with grow- 
ing corn, enclosed by stone walls, behind which the 
enemy could advance unobserved upon any exposed 
point of our lines. Taking advantage of this, the enem\- 
attempted to gain the right of Richardson's position in 
a cornfield, near Roulette's House, where the division 
had become separated from that of General French. A 
change of front by the Fifty-Second New York and 
Second Delaware Volunteers, of Colonel Brooks's brig- 
ade, under Colonel Frank, and the attack made by the 
Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, sent further to the 
right by Colonel Brooks to close this gap in the line, 
and the movement of the One Hundred Thirty-second 
Pennsylvania and Seventh Virginia Volunteers, of Gen- 
eral French's division, before referred to, drove the 
enemy from the cornfield, and restored the line. 

The brigade of General Caldwell, with determined 
gallantry, pushed the enemy back opposite the left and 
centre of this division, but sheltered in the sunken road 
they still held our forces on the right of Caldwell in 
check. Colonel Barlow, commanding the Sixty-first 
and Sixty-fourth New York regiments, of Caldwell's 
brigade, seeing a favorable opportunity, advanced these 
regiments on the left, taking the line on the sunken 
road in flank, and compelled them to surrender, captur- 
ing over three hundred prisoners and three stand of 
colors. 

The whole of the brigade, with the Fifty-seventh and 
Sixty-sixth Xew York regiments of Colonel Brooks's 
brigade, who had moved these regiments into the first 
line, now advanced with gallantrv, driving the enemy 
before them in confusion into the cornfield beyond the 
sunken road. The left of the division was now well ad- 



ANTIETAM. 



69 



vanced, when the enemy, concealed by an intervening 
ridge, endeavored to turn its left and rear. Colonel 
Cross, Fifth New Hampshire, by a change of front to 
the left and rear, brought his regiment facing the ad- 
vancing line. Here a spirited contest arose to gain a 
commanding height, — the two opposing forces moving 
parallel to each other, giving and receiving fire. The 
Fifth, gaining the advantage, faced to the right and de- 
livered its volley. The enemy staggered, but rallied 
and advanced desperately at a charge. Being rein- 
forced b}~ the Eighty-first Pennsylvania regiment, these 
regiments met the advance by a counter charge. The 
enemy fled, leaving many killed, wounded, and prison- 
ers, and the colors of the Fourth North Carolina in our 
hands. — Gen. McClellans Official Report. 

Greene's charge. 

At last their line began to waver, and General Greene 
shouted, " Charge ! " With a yell of triumph we started, 
with levelled ba3'onets ; and, terror-stricken, the Rebels 
fled. Like hounds after the frightened deer, we pur- 
sued them fully three fourths of a mile, killing, wound- 
ing, and taking prisoners almost every rod. Their colors 
fell : a private soldier leaped forward, and tore them from 
the staff. 

Across the fields we pursued the foe, who again took 
shelter in a heav}* piece of timber, flanked by their 
artillery. A batteiy of twelve-pounder howitzers came 
to our support, and most efficient service it rendered. 
AVe formed in two lines in rear of the batter}', and lay 
behind a low ridge, sufficient!}' high to protect from a 
direct shot, but which offered no shelter from the frag- 
ments of shells bursting near and over us ; these were 
continually striking amongst us, often grazing a cap or 
an arm, but doing no particular harm. The howitzers 
were doing splendidly, when suddenly we heard, 4i But 
eight rounds left ! " Twenty more rounds would silence 
the Rebel battery, but we had them not. Soon the 



70 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Rebel fire was more rapid, and a yell in the distance 
denoted an advance of their infantry. Shall we retreat? 
No ! we will hold our ground or die ! On they come, 
yelHng defiantly : t is Hill's division, second to none but 
Jackson's. We look anxiously for another battery. It 
comes ! it comes ! We are safe ! — Mc§, Wood, 7th Ohio. 

THOUGHT FOR THE WOUNDED. 

As we neared the grove. — it was at the corner of the 
field. — a regiment of Rebels, who had lain concealed 
among the tall corn, arose and poured upon us the most 
withering volley we had ever felt. Another and another 
followed, and a continuous rattle rent the air. We 
could not stop to reply, — we could but hurry on. The 
slaughter was fearful : I never saw men fall so fast ; I 
was obliged to step over them at every step 

We reached the grove, and drove the Rebels from it. 
They retired obliquely into the corn-field, keeping up a 
retreating fire. I observed, not thirty yards from me, 
two stout Rebels assisting a wounded comrade from the 
field, supporting his fainting form between them. I 
could have killed one of them : their backs were pre- 
sented toward me very temptingly. I was going to fire, 
but at that moment 1 heard the wounded man groan. I 
hesitated. Could I shoot one of the men who were 
bearing him away, and allow him again to fall to the 
earth? I could not. I sought another mark ; and seeing 
a Rebel in the act of loading his gun. just at the edge 
of the cornfield. I fired at him. — Serg. HilL Sth Penn. 
Reserves. 

MAINE AT ANTIETAM. 

The Maine Seventh was ordered to drive the enemy 
from a strong position about nine hundred yards in front 
of the line of battle. Every private in the ranks knew 
that a brigade of the enemy was massed there with a 
battery of artillery, and that an awful blunder had been 



ANT1ETAM. 



71 



made, but obedience is the first dut}' of a soldier. The 
order was given to the regiment to advance. On they 
went across the field under a shower of bullets, halting 
twice to return the fire of the enemy. After halting the 
second time to deliver their fire, the regiment rushed 
forward with such a cheer as only the " Seventh" can 
give, driving the enemy before them. 

The Rebels now took refuge behind a stone wall and 
opened a galling fire of musketry. At this point the 
regiment had arrived within range of one of our bat- 
teries, which had been playing upon the enemy, and, not 
aware of the advance, our forces continued firing. The 
Rebels opened their battery with grape and canister. 
The regiment seemed now devoted to destruction, yet 
the men delivered their fire with steadiness and terrible 
effect as they moved by the left flank to gain the cover of 
an orchard. Thence through a cornfield, hy a circuitous 
route, the}' returned to their old position in line of bat- 
tle. Not a man had straggled, all that the bullets had 
spared were there ; but how thinned the ranks ! Only 
sixty-five men now constitute the gallant " Seventh 
Maine." — Portland Press. 

burxside's attack on the left. 

The Antietam in front of Burnside was deep, not 
fordable, flowing in the bottom of a charming valley, 
and overshadowed by trees. There was a solid stone 
bridge over it, with three arches rising picturesquely in 
the centre, with stone parapets on the sides, the para- 
pets spreading at both ends of the structure. One 
would almost imagine that it was an old Italian bridge, 
transported to our modern building land. The side of 
the valley held by the Rebel troops rises sharply, not 
densely wooded, but covered b}' large trees thickly placed 
as in an old English park. Along the top of this ridge 
ran a solid stone wall, thicker and of heavier stones 
than any we saw in the neighborhood. Where the wall 
ended rifle-pits had been dug. Behind the massive 



72 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



trunks, and in the branches of the old trees, behind this 
wall, and in the pits, were crowded the sharp-shooters 
of the Rebels. The ascent from the bridge out of the 
valley on the enemy's side was too steep for a straight 
road up the ridge. If ever a bridge could be defended, 
that should have been : the only disadvantage the 
Rebels were under was that they could not sweep it with 
artillery. 

Our left had vainly attempted to cross the bridge ; 
twice had they been repulsed. On the right our troops 
were hard pressed ; much of the ground gained in the 
morning had been lost : Hooker had been wounded, 
Sumner's corps routed. Mansfield killed, and his corps 
beaten back. Then McClellan ordered Burnside to take 
the bridge, and hold it any cost. Burnside sent some 
troops further down the river where it was fordable. 
He called up one of his old brigades that had been with 
him in North Carolina, saying, if any brigade could take 
the bridge, that one would. It was composed of the 
Fifty-first New York. Fifty-first Pennsylvania. Twent}'- 
first Massachusetts, and a Rhode Island regiment : on 
their colors were inscribed Roanoke." Newbern."two 
of our most glorious victories. With these veteran 
troops was the Thirty- fifth Massachusetts, a new regi- 
ment that had left home only a month before, but who 
nobly did their part. Down went the Fifty-first Penn- 
sylvania in column in the advance, at the run. shouting 
and crowding and firing as they hurried across the 
bridge, bringing down the Rebels from the trees, suffer- 
ing themselves, but never halting. They crossed and 
deployed on the other side. Next came the Thirty- 
fifth Massachusetts over the bridge, up the valley, then 
forming in line of battle on the top of the small hill com- 
manding the stream. The enemy were drawn up before 
them, quite a distance off', on the top of the next hill. 
Every inch of ground between was commanded by the 
Rebel fire ; but our brave fellows charged on up this 
hill, driving the foe before them. Nothing daunted, 
they followed up their charge, and drove the enemy from 



ANT I ET AM. 



73 



this hill and took this most commanding position. There 
they halted, close to Sharpsburg, almost in the rear of 
the Rebels. Some of our troops even penetrated to 
Sharpsburg itself, and were taken prisoners. A short 
distance farther would have cut off the enemy's direct 
retreat to the Potomac. Rebel troops were seen hurry- 
ing on the road to the river. Our men were now fired 
upon b} r artillery, and attacked by fresh bodies of in- 
fantry coming up, as the enemy say in their account, 
from Harper's Ferry. Our brave fellows, however, 
stood their ground waiting for reinforcements, which 
Burnside called for. But McClellan, unfortunatety, 
dared not throw in his reserves ; his object had probably 
been gained in making a diversion from the hard con- 
tested field on our right. Our gallant fellows had to 
stand there unsupported, until their ammunition gave 
out. The}^ fired their sixty rounds of ammunition, col- 
lecting all the}^ could from their dead and wounded 
comrades, and then began to retreat. Benjamin's bat- 
tery of artillery was also short of ammunition, and could 
not support them. Our brave boj's only retreated to 
the next hill, not to the hill above the Antietam, and 
there lay on their arms during the night, and there 
they stayed during the next day, expecting the order to 
advance. — 0. W. Loring, in the Continental Magazine. 



CHAPTER VI. 



PITTSBURG LAXDING. 

" nnOM," said Uncle Fritz, " you are an old- 
fashioned sort of boy. Do you remember 
anything about Washington's success at the battle 
of Trenton ? " 

" Why, yes," said Tom ; — "it says that they had 
driven him across the Delaware, and had stretched 
their army all over New Jersey; and that Wash- 
ington said, 1 This is the time to clip their wings, 
now they are so spread.' So he turned round and 
took all the Hessians at Trenton, — and a few days 
after cut in on them at Princeton. And they say 
he might have taken another set at Brunswick, 
but his council of war would not let him. I hate 
councils of war." 

" They are pretty much out of fashion now," 
said Uncle Fritz. u Just that sort of thing, which 
Washington did there, is what the Southern Gen- 
erals Johnston and Beauregard tried to do with 
Grant's army on the Tennessee. If you will look on 
the map, you will see that, at the western part of 
its course, the Tennessee River flows nearly north. 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



75 



When General Grant took command of the National 
army, on the 17th of March, 1862, he found it in 
five 4 divisions,' 1 ranged along this river. General 
Sherman and General Hurlbut, with about half the 
army, were at Pittsburg Landing, on the west 
side of the river. They commanded two ; divis- 
ions,' and were farthest south, which is to say 
nearest the enemy. General Lew Wallace, with 
another division, was on the same side of the river, 
about five miles farther north. General McCler- 
nand and General Charles F. Smith, with two more 
divisions, making about half the army, were at 
Savanna, or in transports near it, — still farther 
north. As soon as Grant took command, he gave 
orders to concentrate this force. On the other 
side, as soon as Johnston felt strong enough, he 
meant to attack its advance, under Hurlbut and 
Sherman, before it was strengthened, and this he 
did in the beginning of April. It was precisely 
what Washington did, with much smaller forces, 
at Trenton, but that the English army there was 
at posts separated by land, and here a navigable 
river gave Grant's divisions easy methods of move- 
ment. The Rebel army had been concentrated 
around Corinth, which is in the northern part of 
Mississippi. There was some skirmishing between 
outposts as early as the 2d of April. On the 4th, 
Johnston 4 felt Sherman's front,' as soldiers say, 

1 By " division " was meant a separate command, of which 
the officers reported to the general at the head. 



76 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



in force. But both Grant and Sherman thought 
there was no probability of an immediate engage- 
ment. Here they were mistaken. For on the 6th 
of April came one of the most terrible battles of 
the war, or any war, — which did not end, indeed, 
till the final retreat of the defeated Rebel force on 
the 7th. Johnston and Beauregard attacked with 
their whole force the divisions of Hurlbut and 
Sherman. Lew Wallace did not succeed in bringing 
up the support of his division till night of the 6th. 
At night McClernand's and Smith's divisions be- 
gan to arrive from Savanna, and with the morning 
Grant was able to move these fresh troops against 
the enemy, who had been fighting all the day be- 
fore. They gave way slowly, and he drove them 
back to Corinth. On the first day they had driven 
back Sherman's and Hurlbut's lines so far, as 
to take possession of their camps. On the 7th 
they were themselves driven back. But many of 
the prisoners whom they took the first day were 
not recaptured. The loss, in both days, of the 
National army was twelve thousand two hundred 
and seventeen. The loss of the Rebels was ten 
thousand six hundred and ninety-nine. 

" Remember that the battle-field reaches back from 
the bluffs at Pittsburg Landing two or three miles. 
It is a thickly-wooded and broken country, mixed 
with some patches of cultivation. The river was 
very high, so that back-water filled deep the little 
streams which run into it. As the battle began, 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



77 



Sherman commanded at the extreme right, and a 
little stream called Owl Creek protected him from 
any attack from the west or the rear. Between 
him and the Tennessee were McClernand's and 
Prentiss's forces, with Stuart nearest the river. 
In a second line, behind these troops were General 
Hurlbut and General W. H. L. Wallace, — whom 
yon must not confound with General Lew Wallace, 
who was five miles away. These officers were so 
near that their men could be moved up at once to 
support the front. The troops were all Western 
troops, some of whom had never been under fire. 

" Now I think you will understand these stories 
of parts of the battle. The very earliest attack, at 
three o'clock in the morning, was made on General 
Prentiss's men. Colonel Everett Peabody, of the 
Twenty-fifth Missouri, fc by one of those undefinable 
impulses or misgivings which detect the approach 
of catastrophe without physical warning of it, be- 
came convinced that all was not right.' He com- 
manded the first brigade of General Prentiss's 
division. Very early Sunday morning, therefore, 
he sent out three companies of his own regiment, 
and two of the Twelfth Michigan, under the com- 
mand of Major Powell of that regiment, to recon- 
noitre." 

Here is the report of that movement, as it is told 
by the senior surviving officer: — 

The regiment occupied the right of the first brigade, 
commanded b} T Colonel Peabody, acting brigadier-gen- 



78 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



eral, and had the honor of opening the fight on the 6th, 
the attack being made on its front at three o'clock in 
the morning. By Colonel Peabody's orders three com- 
panies were despatched to engage the enemy's advance, 
which was successfully done until reinforced by the 
Twenty-first Missouri. The fighting now became gen- 
eral and heavy, and I was ordered to support with the 
whole regiment. The enemy had now come within half 
a mile of the encampment , where the}' were checked and 
held until near seven o'clock, when our force fell back 
to the line of encampment, where another stand was 
made. The fighting was veiy severe until eight o'clock, 
when we were compelled to fall back still further, behind 
our encampments, on the division which had by this 
time formed in line of battle on an elevation in our rear. 
My regiment had, by this time, become badly cut up, 
but they rallied and took position on the right of the 
Twelfth Michigan, with the loss of several of my most 
valuable officers. The fighting now became most deter- 
mined, and continued with little intermission for three 
hours. The eneury, being thrice repulsed, finally moved 
to our left. It was in this part of the engagement 
that Major Powell fell mortally wounded, and Ser- 
geant Euler, color-bearer, was killed, clinging to the 
staff till it had to be detached from his grasp by Ser- 
geant Simmons, who took his place. — Lieut.- Col. 
Van Horn. 

The Rebels, you see, were steadily gaining 
ground here. General Prentiss with a part of 
his command stood too firmly, for they were 
taken prisoners, being surrounded by the Rebel 
advance. 

Now here is the account which the Twenty-first 
Missouri give, — who, as you see, reinforced these 
companies. 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



79 



On the 5th with three companies I made a reconnois- 
sance over three miles, which failed to discover the 
enemy. I returned to my encampment about eleven 
p. if. On Sunday morning, the 6th, at about six 
o'clock, by order of Colonel Everett Peabody, com- 
manding the first brigade, sixth division, I advanced 
with five companies of my command a short distance 
from our encampment. I met the retreating pickets 
bringing in their wounded. I ordered and compelled 
those who were able for duty to return to their posts, — 
and, learning that the enemy was advancing in force, I 
sent for the remaining five companies of my regiment. 
"With them I ordered an advance, and attacked the 
enemy, who were commanded by General Euggles. A 
terrific fire was opened upon us from the whole front of 
the four or five regiments forming the enemy's advance, 
which my gallant soldiers withstood until I had com- 
municated the intelligence of the movement against us 
to nry commanding general. About this time, being my- 
self severely wounded, the bone of the leg below the 
knee being shattered, I was compelled to retire from 
the field, leaving Lieut. -Col. AVoodyard in command. — 
Col. Moore. 

Now here is Colonel Woodyard's story of what 
happened there : — 

I then assumed command of the regiment, and formed 
a line of battle on the brow of a hill on the cotton-field, 
facing nearly west. I held this position for some half 
or three quarters of an hour, — and kept the enemy in 
check. He fell back, and attempted to outflank me. 
Discovering this, I moved my line to the north of the 
hill again, joined by four companies of the Sixteenth 
Wisconsin infantry. Having no field-officers with them, . 
I ordered them to a position to the east of the field, and 
as soon as this was done joined them with my command. 
This line of battle, formed facing south, behind a small 
incline, enabled my men to load and be out of the range 



80 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



of the enemy's fire. The position proved a strong one, 
and we managed to hold it for upwards of an hour. 
Finding the}' could not dislodge us, the enenry again 
tried to outflank us and deal a cross-fire. We then fell 
back in good order, firing as we did so, to the next hill. 
Colonel Peabody, commanding first brigade, here came 
up with the Twenty-fifth Missouri regiment. I requested 
him to bring his men up to the hill on our right, as it would 
afford protection to his men and be of assistance to my 
command. He did so, — but the enemy coming by 
heavy main centre, and dealing a cross-fire upon our 
right and left, we could not maintain this position for 
over thirty minutes. We gradually began to fall back, 
and reached our tents, when the ranks got broken in 
passing through them. We endeavored to rally our 
men in the rear of our tents, and formed as well as 
could be expected, but my men got much scattered, a 
great many falling into other regiments under the im- 
mediate command of General Prentiss : others divided 
to other divisions, but continued to fight during the two 
days. — Col. Wood yard. 

We cannot follow everybody's account of what 
he and his men did, in this fashion. But I be- 
lieve Tom and Walter read all the despatches, 
and down on the beach the next day they fought 
it all out by putting lines of white stones for our 
men, and black stones for the Rebels. But this 
is enough to show you how they tell the story. 
You will see that Prentiss was being steadily 
driven back. This being so, General Hurlbut 
moved up to aid him. Here is a part of his re- 
port : — 

A single shot from the enemy's batteries struck in 
Meyers's Thirteenth Ohio battery, when officers and 
men, with a common impulse of disgraceful cowardice, 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



81 



abandoned the entire batteiy, horses, caissons, and 
guns, and fled, and I saw them no more until Tuesday. 
I called for volunteers from the artillery : the call was 
answered, and ten gallant men from Mann's battery 
and Ross's battery brought in the horses, which were 
wild, and spiked the pieces. The attack commenced on 
the third brigade, through the thick timber, and was 
met and repelled by a steady and continuous fire, which 
rolled the enemy back in confusion, after some half-hour 
of struggle, leaving mairy dead and wounded. 

The. glimmer of bayonets on the left and front of the 
first brigade showed a large force of the enemy gather- 
ing, and an attack was soon made on the Forty-first 
Illinois and Twenty-eighth on the left of the brigade, 
and on the Thirty-second Illinois and Third Iowa on 
the right. At the same time a strong force of very 
steady and gallant troops formed in columns, doubled 
on the centre, and advanced over the open field in front. 
They were allowed to approach within four hundred 
yards, when fire was opened from Mann's and Ross's bat- 
teries, and from the two right regiments of the first brig- 
ade, and the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky, 
which were thrown forward slightly so as to flank the 
column. Under this withering fire the}' vainly attempted 
to deploy, but soon broke, and fell back under cover, 
leaving not less than one hundred and fifty dead and 
wounded as evidence how our troops maintained their 
position. 

The attack on the left was also repulsed ; but, as 
the ground was covered with trees, the loss could 
not be judged. General Prentiss having succeeded 
in rallying a considerable portion of his command, 
I permitted him to pass to the front of the right of nry 
third brigade, where they redeemed their honor by 
maintaining that line for some time, while ammuni- 
tion was supplied to my regiments. A series of attacks 
upon the right and left of my line were readily repelled, 
until I was compelled to order Ross's ba-ttery to the 
rear, on account of its loss in men and horses. During 

6 



82 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



all this time Mann's battery maintained its fire steadily, 
effectively, and with great rapidity, under the excellent 
handling of Lieut. E. Brotzmann. 

For five hours these brigades maintained their posi- 
tion under repeated and heavy attacks, and endeavored, 
with their thin ranks, to hold the space between Stew- 
\ art and McClernand, and did check ever}' attempt to 
penetrate the line ; when, about three o'clock, Colonel 
Stewart, on my left, sent me word that he was driven 
in, and that I would be flanked on the left in a few 
moments. It was necessary for me to decide at once 
to abandon either the right or left. I considered that 
Prentiss could, with the left of General McClernand's 
troops, probably hold the right, and sent him notice to 
reach out toward the right, and drop back steadily 
parallel with my first brigade, while I rapidly moved 
General Lanmann's from the right to the left, and 
called up two twenty-pound pieces of Major Calender's 
battalion to check the advance of the enemy upon the 
first brigade. These pieces were taken into action by 
Doctor Cornine, the surgeon of the battalion, and 
Lieut. Edwards, and effect ually checked the enemy for 
half an hour, giving me time to draw off nry crippled 
artillery and to form a new front with the third brigade. 
In a few minutes two Texas regiments crossed the 
ridge separating my line from Stewart's former one, 
wiiile other troops also advanced. Willard's battery 
was thrown into position under command of Lieut. 
Wood, and opened with great effect upon the lone-star 
flags, until their line of fire was obstructed by the 
charge of the third brigade, which, after delivering its 
fire with great steadiness, charged full up the hill, and 
drove the enem} T three or four hundred yards. Per- 
ceiving that a heav}' force was closing on the left, 
between my line and the river, while heavy fire con- 
tinued on the right and front, I ordered my line to fall 
back. The retreat was made quietly and steadily, and 
in good order. I had hoped to make a stand on the 
line of my camp ; but masses of the enemy were press- 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



83 



ing rapidly on each flank, while their light artillery were 
closing rapidly in the rear. On reaching the twenty- 
four-pounder siege-guns in battery, near the river, I 
again succeeded in forming line of battle in rear of the 
guns, s,nd, by direction of Major-General Grant, I 
assumed command of all the troops that came up. 
Broken regiments and disordered battalions came into 
line gradually upon my division. Major Cavender 
posted six of his twenty-pound pieces on my right, and 
I sent my aid to establish the light artillery — all that 
could be found — on my left. Many officers and men 
unknown to me, and whom I never desire to know, fled 
in confusion through the line. Manj r gallant soldiers 
and brave officers rallied steadily on the new line. 

I passed to the right, and found nryself in communi- 
cation with General Sherman, and received his instruc- 
tions. In a short time, the enemy appeared on the 
crest of the ridge, led by the Eighteenth Louisiana, but 
were cut to pieces by the stead} T and murderous fire of 
our artillery. Dr. Cornine again took charge of one 
of the heavy twenty-four-pounders, and the line of fire 
of that gun was the one upon which the other pieces 
concentred. General Sherman's artillery, also, was 
rapidly engaged ; and, after an artillery contest of 
some duration, the enemy fell back. Captain Gwinn, 
United States Navy, had called upon me, by one of his 
officers, to mark the place the gun-boats might open 
their fire. I advised him to take position on the left of 
my camp-ground, and open fire as soon as our fire was 
within that line. He did so ; and from m}' own obser- 
vation, and the statement of prisoners, his fire was most 
effectual in stopping the advance of the enemy on Sun- 
day afternoon and night. . 

About dark the firing ceased. I advanced my di- 
vision one hundred yards to the front, threw out pickets, 
and officers and men bivouacked in a heavy storm of 
rain. — Gen. Hurlbut. 



84 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



General Hurlbut's report is thus indorsed by 
General Grant : — 

" This is a fair, candid report, assuming none too 
much for officers or men of the division. 

"U. S. Grant, 

Major- General." 

Thus we have traced the history of the division 
which met the very earliest attack, from three in the 
morning to the end of that bloody day. Stewart's 
brigade, detached at the left of Prentiss's main 
force, had been driven back, as you have seen. The 
Rebels in front of General Prentiss were under the 
command of General Bragg. These accounts have 
been by regimental officers and by General Hurl- 
but. Uncle Fritz chose them as illustrations of the 
way soldiers tell their story. Now you shall have 
General Sherman's view of the whole, and of what 
passed under his eye, stationed as he was on 
Prentiss's right. To understand the time, you 
should observe that it was a full hour after Pea- 
body's outposts gave warning before they were 
driven into Prentiss's camps. About seven the 
Rebel General Gladden moved upon Prentiss's 
centre, Chalmers's brigade on the left, and Jackson 
on the right. Gladden was killed by a cannon- 
shot. Peabody was mortally wounded in our lines. 
Before nine o'clock the Confederates had driven 
Prentiss from his camps. The attack on Sher- 
man's front had been made at the same time, by 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



85 



General Hardee. By eight o'clock the battle was 
raging on both these lines of attack. 

About eight a.m., I saw the glistening ba} T onets of 
heavy masses of infantry to our left front in the woods 
beyond the small stream alluded to, and became satis- 
fied, for the first time, that the enem} r designed a de- 
termined attack on our whole camp. All the regiments 
of my division were then in line of battle at their proper 
posts. I rode to Colonel Appier and ordered him to 
hold his ground at all hazards, as he held the left flank 
of our first line of battle. I informed him that he had 
a good battery on his right, and strong supports to his 
rear. General McClernand had promptly responded to 
my request, and had sent me three regiments, which 
were posted to protect Waterhouse's battery and the 
left flank of my line. The battle began by the enemy 
opening a battery in the woods to our front, and throw- 
ing shells into our camp. Taylor's and Waterhouse's 
batteries promptly responded, and I then observed 
heavy battalions of infantry passing obliquely to the 
left, across the open field in Appier's front ; also other 
columns advancing directly upon my division. Our 
infantry and artillery opened along the whole line, and 
the battle became general. Other heavy masses of the 
enemy's forces kept passing across the field to our left, 
and directing their course on General Prentiss. I saw 
at once that the enemy designed to pass my left flank, 
and fall upon Generals McClernand and Prentiss, 
whose line of camps was almost parallel with the Ten- 
nessee River, and about two miles back from it. Very 
soon the sound of musketry and artillery announced 
that General Prentiss was engaged, and about nine 
a. m. I judged that he was falling back. 

About this time Appier's regiment broke in disorder, 
soon followed by fugitives from Mungen's regiment, 
and the enemy pressed forward on Waterhouse's bat- 
tery, thereby exposed. 

The three Illinois regiments in immediate support of 



86 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



this battery stood for some time ; but the enemy's ad- 
vance was so vigorous, and the fire so severe, that 
when Colonel Raith. of the Forty-Third Illinois, re- 
ceived a severe wound and fell from his horse, his 
regiment and the others manifested disorder, and the 
enemy got possession of three guns of this (Water- 
house's) battery. Although our left was thus turned 
and the enemy was pressing on the whole line, I 
deemed Shiloh so important that I remained by it and 
renewed my orders to Colonels McDowell and Buckland 
to hold their ground, and we did hold those positions 
till about ten o'clock a. m., when the enemy got his 
artillery to the rear of our left flank, and some change 
became absolutely necessary. 

Two regiments of Hildebrand's brigade, Appier's and 
Mungen's, had already disappeared to the rear, and 
Hildebrand's own regiment was in disorder, and there- 
fore I gave directions for Taylor's batter}", still at 
Shiloh, to fall back as far as the Purdy and Hamburg 
road, and for McDowell and Buckland to adopt that 
road as their new line. I rode across the angle, and 
met Behr's battery at the cross roads, and ordered it 
immediately to unlimber and come into battery, action 
right. Captain Behr gave the order, but he was al- 
most immediately shot from his horse, when drivers 
and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the cais- 
sons, and abandoning five out of six guns without fir- 
ing a shot. The enemy pressed on, and we were again 
forced to choose a new line of defence. Hildebrand's 
brigade had substantially disappeared from the field, 
though he himself bravely remained. McDowell's and 
Buckland's brigades still retained their organization, 
and were conducted by nry aids so as to join on Gen- 
eral McClernand's right, thus abandoning my original 
camps and line. This was about half past ten a. m., 
at which time the enemy had made a furious attack 
on General McClernand's whole front. Finding him 
pressed, I moved McDowell's brigade directly against 
the left flank of the enemy, forced him back some 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



87 



distance, and then directed the men to avail them- 
selves of every cover, — trees, fallen timber, and a 
wooded valley to our right. We held this position for 
four long hours, sometimes gaining and at other times 
losing ground, General McClernand and myself acting 
in perfect concert, and struggling to maintain this line. 
While we were so hardly pressed, two Iowa regiments 
approached from the rear, but could not be brought 
up to the severe fire that was raging in our front, and 
General Grant, who visited us on that ground, will re- 
member our situation about three p. m. : but about four 
p. H. it was evident that Hurlbut's line had been driven 
back to the river, and. knowing that General Lew Wal- 
lace was coming from Crump's Landing with reinforce- 
ments. General McClernand and I, on consultation, 
selected a new line of defence, with its right covering 
the bridge by which General Wallace had to approach. 1 
We fell back as well as we could, gathering, in addition 
to our own, such scattered forces as we could find, and 
formed a new line. 

During this change the enemy's cavalry charged 
us, but was handsomely repulsed by an v Illinois regi- 
ment, whose number I did not learn at the time or 
since. 2 The Fifth Ohio batter}', which had come up, 
rendered good service in holding the enemy in check 
for some time ; and Major Taylor came up with a new 
batteiy, and got into position just in time to get a good 
flanking fire upon the enemy's columns as he pressed 
on General McClernand's right, checking his advance, 
when General McClernand's division made a fine charge 
on the enem}-, and drove him back into the ravines on 
our front and right. I had a clear field, about two 
hundred yards wide, in m}' immediate front, and con- 
tented myself with keeping the enemy's infantry at 
that distance during the rest of the day. In this posi- 
tion we rested for the night. — General Sherman. 

1 But General Lew Wallace took the wrong road at starting, 
and did not arrive before night. 

2 It was the Twenty -ninth. 



88 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



And this must be all we can read of that terrible 
first day at Shiloh, except one plucky little report 
from an Illinois captain, who suspected that his 
company had been accused of cowardice. As his 
company lost even more than he says, — namely, 
six men killed and thirty-one wounded, — more 
than half the number he took into action, he might 
have left that record to speak for itself. But he 
could not bear to have the living or the dead 
maligned, so he sent in, " on his own hook," this 
spirited little narrative. 

Dear Sir: — Enclosed please find list of killed, 
wounded, and missing. I will avail myself of this 
opportunity to give you a correct statement of things 
that happened on the battle-field after our order to go 
to the left (as to what happened before, there is no 
dispute). I was ordered there by our colonel, who led 
the way in person to the hollow, where we had the 
severest part of the action, in which I participated. 
We fought there until ordered to leave by the colonel 
in person ; then I moved off with my company in as 
good order as the nature of the case would admit, and 
can say that a large part of the regiment could have 
been rallied anywhere from two hundred }~ards of our 
position to our quarters (where all Assembled), if we 
had had only one field-officer to have directed the move- 
ment. I will also state that my men had shot away all 
their ammunition, and in several instances had robbed 
the boxes of the dead and wounded. Had we not been 
compelled by the enemy to fall back, we could not have 
held our position longer for want of ammunition. After 
my arrival in camp, I beat towards the river with all 
my company, — all that was not detached to take care 
of the wounded. When we arrived at the guard I was 
pleased, for that was the first thing I had seen that 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



89 



looked like a place to stop ; here I stopped with my 
squad, and with others formed and joined other frag- 
ments of regiments and marched to the right, where we 
h*y on our arms all night. The next morning, I picked 
up until I had sixteen men and my first-lieutenant, and 
with Captain Davidson (our surgeon captain) reported 
to you for duty ; as to what occurred after this, you 
know as well as I do. I have only to add that I went 
into the action with fifty-four men and three officers ; 
lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, one lieutenant 
and thirty men, leaving only twent} r -four to fight and 
take care of the wounded. And let me say that a 
braver or better-behaved compan}^ of men never lived 
on this continent ; 3'ou ma} T stigmatize me as a coward, 
but please make an exception to the brave men under 
my command. I am getting old, and my fighting time 
is almost done, consequently it makes but little differ- 
ence about me. I have a son and neighbor in this 
action that his parent never expected to be disgraced 
under my command. I also wear a sword presented to 
me by an aged soldier father, who s still living to look 
over the history of the Thirty-Second regiment Illinois 
volunteers. What I say of my conduct, I suppose to 
be true of other commanders of companies. . . . And 
now allow me to say, to take everything into considera- 
tion, I believe the Thirty- Second behaved as well, or 
better, than any other regiment on the field that I have 
heard of. . I have only to add, that I expect never to 
behave better in action while I live, and never expect a 
better set of companies, consequently you need not 
expect any better work of the Thirty- Second than they 
have done. — Capt. Campbell, S2d Illinois. 

Night found the lines of Sherman and Prentiss 
forced back with their left on the river at the 
Landing. But at the Landing a battery of great 
force had been formed, and the gun-boats had 
moved up so as to shell the enemy in the woods. 



90 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Lew Wallace had at last arrived with his division 
by land, and General Buell with his by water, 
so that the next day the tired regiments of Sun- 
day's fight and the newly arrived reinforcements 
had only to advance to drive the enemy back to 
Corinth. 

The Southern army had put all its men into the 
battle. General Johnston, their commander-in- 
chief, as well as Generals Gladden and Hindman. 
were killed. On the Northern side, Prentiss had 
been taken prisoner, and General W. H. L. Wallace 
had been killed. 

Of the second day the story is thus told by Gen- 
eral Coppee : — 

The fresh troops were placed in line as they came 
upon the field, far in advance upon the ground aban- 
doned b}' Beauregard after the failure of his last attack. 
Nelson was on the left ; then, in order, Crittenden, Mc- 
Cook, Hurlbut, McClernand, Sherman, and Lew Wal- 
lace, the new line on the left nearly a mile in advance 
of our position on Sunday evening 

The battle of Monday began by a determined ad- 
vance on our left and centre ; simultaneously with 
which, Beauregard, having formed a strong rear-guard, 
and whipping in all stragglers, undertook a vigorous 
assault upon our left. He was still deceived into the 
hope that he might capture the landing. The assault 
upon Xelson was tremendous ; but while his troops 
were wavering, in spite of all his efforts, the regular 
battery of Captain Mendon had, detached by Buell 
from Crittenden's division, come into action, unlimber- 
ing at a jump, while the Rebels were rushing forward, 
and, by rapid discharges of grape and canister, hurled 
them back. Again and again fresh troops were formed 



PITTSBURG LANDING. 



91 



upon our left, but only to be driven back. At length 
Hazen's brigade charged, captured a Rebel battery, and 
turned it upon the astonished enemy. 

Once more a Rebel charge, and Hazen is driven back, 
when TerrhTs battery, of McCook's division, being in 
search of its position, is posted by General Buell at 
the contested point. He opens with shell from his 
ten-pounders, and grape and canister from his brass 
twelves, and the brunt of the battle burns low in Nel- 
son's front. Buell has admirably posted his artillery, 
and the guns have been splendidly served. Nelson 
can move forward. On his right, Crittenden and Mc- 
Cook advanced abreast, but to meet with a stubborn 
resistance. Throughout the war, as numerous exam- 
ples could testify, the Rebel generals alwa}~s sought to 
pierce our line at its weakest point, — at some joint in 
the armor. It was so now. Iii the slight interval 
between Crittenden and McCook they endeavored to 
force a passage. Rousseau, partially flanked, is driven 
back, but rallies upon the support of Kirk's and Gib- 
son's brigades. 

On the right, Sherman and Wallace have advanced 
with ardor to the same ridge occupied by the former on 
Sunday morning. But here again furious battle was to 
be joined, for the Rebels, when satisfied that the} T could 
effect nothing on the left, had countermarched their 
troops to try the right once more, and the little log 
church of Shiloh was again to witness a desperate 
struggle. By well-concerted movements, our troops 
are kept well, abreast throughout the whole line, and 
when at length a concerted advance was made, in spite 
of the great efforts of the enenry, it was successful. By 
four o'clock the rebel commander had seen the useless- 
ness of further effort ; by half past five he was in full 
retreat. — Gen. Coppee. 

We cannot follow the details of the Western 
! campaign of that year; but must pass to the 
siege and capture of Vicksburg. 



CHAPTER VII. 



VICKSBURG. 



HE control of the Mississippi River was, for 



each partj T , one of the most important objects 
of the war. The navigation of that river by steam- 
boats is very important for the States which bor- 
der upon it and its branches. It also gives a very 
easy method for the movement of troops. The city 
of New Orleans grew to be the great city it was, 
before the days of railroads, when almost all the 
articles of trade produced in these great States were 
sent down the river on their way to the markets 
where they were sold. Cotton, pork, sugar, hemp, 
tobacco, corn, wheat, and other productions of the 
fertile Western and Southwestern States, were 
sent down the river by steamboats to New Orleans. 
As railroads have been built from the Mississippi, 
across the country eastward to the ocean, the river is 
not now the only means these States have of send- 
ing their produce to market. Still the Mississippi 
River is a very important channel for trade, and so 
it was in the time of the war. 

The United States government had therefore 
seized Cairo, at the mouth of the Ohio, in the very 




VICKSBURG. 



93 



beginning of the war, and this had become an im- 
portant central point, as a depSt of troops, food, 
and ammunition. The Rebels had seized Memphis, 
which stands on a high bluff on the eastern side of 
the river and commands the passage. By this 
word " commands," this is meant, — that the bluff 
is so high that cannons placed there are easily 
fired downward upon vessels which try to pass, 
while it is impossible for them to fire guns up, so 
as to strike such batteries on the shores with any 
great effect. When the Rebel armies were driven 
towards the south, they could not hold Memphis, 
and they withdrew their forces there. But in 
place of Memphis they fortified Vicksburg, a city 
of Mississippi, and it became what President Jeffer- 
son Davis called the " Gibraltar of America." 1 

On the next page is a map, to show you how 
admirably Vicksburg is situated for stopping the 
passage of the river. The Mississippi, in one of 
its winding frolics, doubles right in front of 
Vicksburg. The river itself is less than half a 
mile wide. The little neck just opposite the 
city is three quarters of a mile wide. The bluff 
on which the city stands is abrupt, and rises 
two hundred feet above the river. A steam- 
boat, therefore, which tried to pass down the Mis- 
sissippi in front of Vicksburg would have to pass 
the batteries twice, — once northward, and again 

1 Vicksburg is just below Walnut Hills, and just above the site 
of Fort Adams. These places are often alluded to in the history 
of the beginning of the century. 



94 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



close to the city southward. For, with guns as 
high as two hundred feet above the object to be 
struck, the distance even of a mile and three quar- 
ters, which would be the farthest which a steam- 




boat could take, would not be greater than the shot 
could be thrown. Of course, when the boat turned 
to go south, it would be close under the batteries. 
The Rebels availed themselves carefully of these 
advantages. They also fortified Port Hudson, in 
Louisiana, lower down, for the purpose of prevent- 
ing boats from coming up the river. 



VICKSBURG. 



95 



To open the river again General Grant was to 
take Vicksburg, and General Banks to take Port 
Hudson. Each army had the assistance of what 
President Lincoln called " our web-footed allies," 
by which he meant the vessels of the navy. With 
Grant was Admiral Porter, who had sixty vessels 
of all sorts, mostly river steamers ; this fleet carried 
eight hundred men and two hundred and eighty 
guns. At the beginning of the year 1863, when 
the operations against Vicksburg began, Grant's 
army, at all the posts of the Department of the Ten- 
nessee, was one hundred and thirty thousand men. 

General Grant took personal command of the 
movement against Vicksburg on the 30th of Jan- 
uary, 1863. On the 4th of July of that year, Gen- 
eral Pemberton, the Rebel general who commanded 
there, surrendered it to General Grant. In that 
surrender Grant took prisoners thirty-one thou- 
sand six hundred men, and one hundred and 
seventy-two cannon. This was, at that time, the 
largest capture of men and material ever made in 
war. Before it took place, a campaign of very 
great variety had occupied five months. Many 
battles had been fought, — many plans formed and 
failed, — and the result was due to one of the most 
ingenious, as it was one of the boldest, military 
combinations. It will always be a campaign which 
young soldiers will study with great interest. It 
is the campaign in which General Grant won his 
reputation as one of the first soldiers of this time, 



96 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



— in which he conciliated the regard of his most 
skilful subordinates, — and won the respect and 
admiration of his superiors, General Halleck and 
President Lincoln. 

So I shall let you boys, and any girls who 
have sense enough to read stories of war, have a 
longer chapter about the campaign against Vicks- 
burg, than we have yet had about any other single 
event in this histor}'. 

The first plan made was to dig a canal across 
the neck of land, or peninsula in front of Vicks- 
burg, — below the city, — at a point where the 
isthmus was only a mile and a fifth in width. This 
had been begun before General Grant's arrival. 
If a canal could have been made large enough for 
large steamboats, then, no matter how strong were 
the fortifications of Vicksburg, the boats would pass 
through, far away from their fire. So a canal ten 
feet wide and six deep was made here, in the hope 
that the freshets of the river would widen it, and 
so make it large enough for large steamers. But 
very little came of the canal. When the river did 
rise, it would not flow where it was meant to do. 
It flooded the camps of the workmen. Meanwhile, 
the Rebels had made new batteries below it. Thus 
ended plan number one. Another similar plan, to 
open a route by Lake Providence and Bayou Bax- 
ter, Bayou Magon, and the Washita and Red River, 
did not succeed better. The canals attempted here 
were both on the west of the river. A very bold 



VICKSBURG. 



<J7 



attempt was made on the east side, by what was 
known as the Yazoo Pass, into the Tallahatchee 
and Yazoo River. The expeditions sent by this 
route would come out above Vicksburg ; but it 
was hoped that thus the Rebel gunboats on the 
Yazoo River might be destroyed. If a practicable 
route were made here, the whole army could be 
moved to Haine's Bluff, — above Vicksburg, — an 
upland region very desirable for occupation. But 
nothing came of this movement, though some hard 
work and some hard fighting were done in it. What 
resulted of importance was, that the troops found 
their way into the granary from which Vicksburg 
had been fed ; and in the resistance, many of the 
Rebel stores were destro} 7 ed. In such attempts 
February and March passed away. Meanwhile, 
Admiral Farragut, of the navy, ran by the Rebel 
batteries at Port Hudson, so that he communicated 
with Grant below Vicksburg, — and Grant could 
communicate with General Banks, who was trying 
to do at Port Hudson what Grant was trying to do 
above. The distance from Vicksburg to Port Hud- 
son is about one hundred and twenty miles in a 
straight line, and more than twice that by the 
crooked river. 

Grant now determined to pass the city of Vicks- 
burg on the west side of the river by marching his 
army by land — with the help of boats on some 
bayous if possible — from Milliken's Bend, which is 
twenty miles above Vicksburg, to New Carthage, 
7 



9s 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



which is about as far below. At his request Admi- 
ral Porter sent seven of his iron-clads, with three 
steamers and ten barges, down the river, past the 
Rebel batteries. They were well laden with forage 
and supplies. The crews of all but one refused to 
go. But volunteers from the army offered, enough 
to man a hundred vessels had they been needed. 
On a dark night, of the 16th of April, led by 
Admiral Porter, they steamed down, with the 
barges in tow. They turned the bend without 
being noticed. Then the first batteries opened on 
them. The Rebels set fire to houses so as to light 
up the scene ; and from the ships the crews could 
see the men at the batteries and in the streets of 
Vicksburg. Though every vessel was hit, all 
got by, except the Henry Clay steamer. Finding 
she was sinking, her commander cut off the barge 
he was towing, which drifted safely down, and, soon 
after, the vessel herself took fire. The crew es- 
caped in their boats, — the vessel blazed up and 
lighted up all around. At last, however, after the 
boats had been under fire two hours and forty 
minutes, the whole fleet except the Henry Clay 
arrived safely below the batteries. Grant had thus 
secured, not only forage and stores, but the means 
of transportation. On the 26th of April five more 
vessels passed successfully, one being lost as before. 
Grant was now strong enough to cross the Missis- 
sippi River. His army had to march seventy miles 
on the west side by muddy roads, scarcely above 



VICKSBURG. 



99 



the river line. He feared he might have to go as 
far down as a little town called Rodney for a good 
landing-place on the east side. But a friendly 
negro man, who knew the country, brought in infor- 
mation that there was a good road inland from Bru- 
insburg, — and so it proved. Grand Gulf, on the 
river, where the Rebels had a post, was still between 
Grant and Bruinsburg. Porter attacked it with 
his gun-boats, and Grant was ready to land ten 
thousand troops to storm the place if the batteries 
were silenced. But Porter did not succeed. Grant 
therefore marched his troops down on the west 
side of the river. Porter ran by Grand Gulf with 
transports in the night, and, on the morning of the 
30th of April, Grant crossed the river with ten 
thousand men. They did not carry a tent nor a 
wagon. General Grant and his staff went without 
their horses. It was said afterwards that his whole 
baggage was a toothbrush ! 

Other divisions followed, and on the 3d of May 
he left the river, and marched, not directly on 
Vicksburg, but more inland, to cut off all commu- 
nication with that city. His army took three days' 
rations with them, and relied principally for pro- 
visions on the stores in the rich country through 
which they marched. In the twenty days which 
followed, they fought the battles of Port Gibson, 
of Raymond, and of Jackson, and took the city 
of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. Then 
Grant turned back upon Vicksburg, and before 



100 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



May ended fought a very severe battle at Cham- 
pion Hill, and in another gained the passage of 
Black River. By these actions, in all of which 
he succeeded, he separated General Pemberton and 
his army in Vicksburg from General J. E. John- 
ston, who was trying to relieve him. Pemberton 
was obliged to fall back into Vicksburg. 

Grant assaulted it, without success, on the 19th 
of May, hoping to take it by storm. The works 
were too strong, and the assaulting parties, after 
gaining some few outworks, were all thrown back. 
A regular siege then began, and Vicksburg surren- 
dered, as has been said, on the 4th of July. 

Now you are ready for some scraps of letters and 
despatches which will give details of some of these 
all-important movements and battles. 

First you shall read one of General Sherman's 
and then one of General Grant's brief histories. 
After these come as many other accounts as we , 
can make room for. 

THE YAZOO RIVER. 

On Sunday morning, March 21st, as soon as daylight 
appeared, we started, following the same route which 
Giles A. Smith had taken the day before ; the battalion 
of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, Major Chase, 
in the lead. We could hear Porter's guns, and knew 
that moments were precious. Being on foot myself, no 
man could complain, and we generally went at the 
double-quick, with occasional rests. The road lay along 
Deer Creek, passing several plantations ; and occasion- 
ally, at the bends, it crossed the swamp, where the water 



VICKSBURG. 



101 



came above my hips. The smaller drummer-boys had 
to carry their drums on their heads, and most of the 
men slung their cartridge-boxes around their necks. 
The soldiers generally were glad to have their general 
and field-officers afoot, but we gave them a fair speci- 
men of marching, accomplishing about twenty-one miles 
by noon. Of course, our speed was accelerated by the 
sounds of the navy guns, which became more and more 
distinct, though we could see nothing. At a plantation 
near some Indian mounds, we met a detachment of the 
Eighth Missouri, that had been up to the fleet, and had 
been sent down as a picket to prevent any obstructions 
below. This picket reported that Admiral Porter had 
found Deer Creek badly obstructed, had turned back, 
that there was a Rebel force beyond the fleet, with some 
six-pounders, and nothing between us and the fleet. So 
I sat down on the door-sill of a cabin to rest, but had 
not been seated ten minutes when, in the wood just 
ahead, not three hundred yards off, I heard quick and 
rapid firing of musketry. Jumping up, I ran up the 
road, and found Lieut. -Col. Rice, who said the head 
of his column had struck a small force of Rebels 
with a working gang of negroes, provided with axes, 
who in the first fire had broken and run back into the 
swamp. I ordered Rice to deploy his brigade, his left 
on the road and extending as far into the swamp as the 
ground would permit, and then to sweep forward until 
he covered the gun-boats. The movement was rapid 
and well executed, and we soon came to some large 
cotton-fields and could see our gun-boats in Deer 
Creek, occasionally firing a heavy eight-inch gun across 
the cotton-fields into the swamp behind. About that 
time a Major Kirby, of the Eighth Missouri, galloped 
down the road on a horse he had picked tip the night 
before, and met me. He explained the situation of af- 
fairs, and offered me his horse. I got on bare-backhand 
rode up the Levee, the sailors coming out of their iron- 
clads and cheering most vociferously as I rode by, and 
as our men swept forward across the cotton-field in 



102 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



full view. I soon found Admiral Porter, who was on 
the deck of one of his iron-clads, with a shield made of 
the section of a smoke-stack, and I doubt if he was ever 
more glad to meet a friend than he was to see me. He 
explained that he had almost reached the Rolling Fork, 
when the woods became full of sharp-shooters, who, 
taking advantage of trees, stumps, and the Levee, would 
shoot down every man that poked his nose outside the 
protection of his armor ; so he could not handle his 
clumsy boats in the narrow channel. The Rebels had 
evidently despatched a force from Haines's Bluff up the 
Sunflower, to the Rolling Fork, had anticipated the 
movement of Admiral Porter's fleet, and had completely 
obstructed the channel of the upper part of Deer Creek 
by felling trees into it, so that further progress in that 
direction was simply impossible. It also happened 
that, at the instant of my arrival, a party of about four 
hundred Rebels, armed, and supplied with axes, had 
passed around the fleet, and had got below it, intending 
in like manner to block up the channel by the felling of 
trees, so as to cut off retreat. This was the force we 
had struck so opportunely at the time before described. 
I inquired of Admiral Porter what he proposed to do, 
and he said he wanted to get out of that scrape as 
quickly as possible. He was actually working back 
when I met him, and, as we then had a sufficient force 
to cover his movement completely, he continued to back 
down Deer Creek. He informed me at one time things 
looked so critical that he had made up his mind to blow 
up the gun-boats, and to escape with his men through 
the swamps to the Mississippi River. There being no 
longer any sharp-shooters to bother the sailors, tbey 
made good progress ; still it took three full days for the 
fleet to bacR out of Deer Creek into Black Bayou, at 
Hill's plantation, whence Admiral Porter proceeded to 
his post at the mouth of the Yazoo, leaving Captain 
Owen in command of the fleet. I reported the facts to 
General Grant, who was sadly disappointed at the fail- 
ure of the fleet to get through to the Yazoo above 



VICKSBURG. 



103 



Haines's Bluff, and ordered us all to resume our camps 
at Young's Point. We accordingly steamed down, and 
regained our camps on the 27th. — Gen. Sherman. 

GEN. GRANT'S LETTER TO GEN. HALLECK. 

Grand Gulf, Miss., May 3, 1863. 

On the 29th of April, Admiral Porter attacked the 
fortifications at this place with seven iron-clads, com- 
mencing at eight o'clock a. m., and continuing until 
half past one, engaging them at very close quarters, 
many times not being more than one hundred yards 
from the enemy's guns. During this time, I had about 
ten thousand troops on board transports and barges, 
ready to land them, and cany the place by storm the 
moment the batteries bearing upon the river were 
silenced, so as to make the landing practicable. From 
the great elevation the enenry's batteries had, it proved 
entirely impracticable to silence them from the river ; 
and when the gun-boats were drawn off, I decided im- 
mediately upon landing my forces on the Louisiana 
shore, and marching them across the point below Grand 
Gulf. 

At night the gun-boats made another vigorous attack, 
and in the mean time the transports safety ran the block- 
ade, and on the following day the whole force with me 
was transferred to Bruinsburg, the first point of land 
below Grand Gulf where the interior can be reached, 
and the march immediately commenced for Port Gib- 
son. General McClernand was in the advance, with the 
Thirteenth Army Corps. About two a. m., on the 1st of 
May, when about four miles from Port Gibson, he met 
the enenry. Some little skirmishing took place before 
daylight, but not to any great extent. The Thirteenth 
Corps was followed by Logan's division of McPherson's 
corps, which reached the scene of action as soon as the 
last of the Thirteenth Corps was out of the road. The 
fighting continued all day, and after dark , over the most 



104 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



broken country I ever saw. The whole country is a 
series of irregular ridges, divided by deep and imprac- 
ticable ravines, grown up with heavy timber, under- 
growth, and cane. It was impossible to engage any 
considerable portion of our force at any one time. The 
enemy were driven, however, from point to point, to- 
wards Port Gibson, until night closed in, under which, 
it was evident to me, they intended to retreat. The 
pursuit was continued after dark, until the enemy was 
again met by Logan's division, about two miles from 
Port Gibson. The nature of the country is such, that 
further pursuit in the dark was not deemed prudent 
or advisable. On the 2d, our troops moved into the 
town without finding any enemy except their wounded. 
The bridge across Bayou Pierre, about two miles from 
Port Gibson, on the Grand Gulf road, had been de- 
stroyed, and also the bridge immediately at Port Gib- 
son, on the Vicksburg road. The enemy retreated over 
both these routes, leaving a battery and several regi- 
ments of infantry at the former, to prevent a reconstruc- 
tion of the first bridge. One brigade, under General 
Stevenson, was detached to drive the enemy from this 
position, or occup}' his attention, and a heavy detail set 
to work, under Lieut. -Col. Wilson and Captain Tresil- 
liau, to reconstruct the bridge over the other. This work 
was accomplished, a bridge and roadway (over a hun- 
dred and twenty feet long) made, and the whole of 
McPherson's two divisions inarched over before night. 
This corps then marched to the north fork of Bayou 
Pierre, rebuilt a bridge over that stream, and was on 
the march by five and a half a. if. to-day. Soon after 
crossing the Bayou, our troops were opened on by the 
enemy's artillery. It was soon demonstrated that this 
was only intended to cover the retreat of the main 
army. On arriving at Willow Springs, General Mc- 
Pherson was directed to hold the position from there 
to the Big Black with one division, and General Mc- 
Clernand, on his arrival, to join him in this duty. I 
immediately started for this place with one brigade of 



V1CKSBURG. 



105 



Logan's division, and some cavahy (twenty men). 
The brigade of infantry was left about seven miles from 
here, contrabands and prisoners taken having stated 
that the last of the retreating enemy had passed that 
point. The woods between here and the crossing of 
the Big Black are evidently filled yet with the detach- 
ments of the enemy, and some artillery. I am in 
hopes many of them will be picked up by our forces. 

Our loss will not exceed one hundred and fifty killed, 
and five hundred wounded. The enemy's loss is prob- 
ably about the same. We have, however, some five 
hundred of their men prisoners, and may pick up many 
more yet. Man}' stragglers, particularly from the Mis- 
souri troops, no doubt have fallen out, and will never 
join their regiments again. 

The move by Bruinsburg undoubtedly took the enemy 
b} T surprise. General Bowen's (the Rebel commander's) 
defence was a good one, and well carried out. My 
force, however, was too heavy for his, and composed 
of well-disciplined and hardy men, who know no defeat 
and are not willing to learn what it is. 

This army is in the finest health and spirits. Since 
leaving Milliken's Bend, they have marched as much by 
night as by day, through mud and rain, without tents 
or much other baggage, and on irregular rations, with- 
out a complaint, and with less straggling than I have 
ever before witnessed. 

Colonel Grierson's raid from La Grange, through 
Mississippi, has been the most successful thing of the 
kind since the breaking out of the Rebellion. He 
was five miles south of Pontotoc on the 19th of April. 
The next place he turned up at was Newton, about 
thirty miles east of Jackson. From there he has gone 
south, touching at Hazlehurst, Bahala, and various 
places. The Southern papers and Southern people re- 
gard it as one of the most daring exploits of the war. 
I am told the whole State is full of men paroled by 
Grierson. — Gen. Grant. 



106 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



THE ATTACK OF THE 22D OF MAY. 

graxt's CADET. 

Lawler's brigade in Carr s division, which had carried 
the tete-du-pont on the Big Black River, dashed forward 
with its old impetuosity, supported by Landrum's bri- 
gade of Smith's division ; and. in less than fifteen min- 
utes, a part of one regiment, the Twenty-second Iowa, 
succeeded in crossing the ditch and parapet of a Rebel 
outwork ; but, not receiving the support of the rest of 
the column, could not push further, nor drive the enemy 
from the main work immediately in the rear. A hand- 
to-hand fight here ensued, lasting several minutes ; 
hand-grenades also were thrown by the Rebels in the 
rear, while the National troops still commanded the 
outer parapet. Even' man in the party except one was 
shot down. Sergeant Joseph Griffith, of the Twenty- 
second Iowa, fell at the same time with his comrades, 
stunned, but not seriously hurt. On his recovery, he 
found a Rebel lieutenant and sixteen men lying in the 
outwork, still un wounded, though exposed to the fire of 
both friend and foe. He rose, and bade them follow 
him out of the place, too hot for any man to stay and 
live. The Rebels obeyed, and. calling to the troops 
outside to cease their firing, Griffith brought his pris- 
oners over the parapet, under a storm of Rebel shot that 
killed four of those so willing to surrender. For this 
act of gallantry, Griffith was next day promoted by 
Grant to a first lieutenancy, thus literally, like a knight 
of the Middle Ages, winning his spurs on the field. 
He was not twenty years old, and shortly afterwards 
received an appointment to the Military Academy 
at West Point, where he was known as 4 * Grant's 
Cadet." and graduated in 1867, fifth in his class. — 
Gen. Badeau. 



VICKSBURG. 



107 



THE FLAGS ON THE PARAPET. 

The colors of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois 
were now planted on the counterscarp, and those of two 
other regiments were also raised on the exterior slope of 
the parapet. The work, however, was completely com- 
manded by others in the rear, and no real possession of 
it was gained by the National soldiers. But the troops 
remained in the ditch for hours, although hand-grenades 
and loaded shells were rolled over on them from the 
parapet. The colors were not removed ; as often as a 
Rebel attempted to grasp the staff, he was shot down by 
soldiers in the ditch ; and the National flags waved all 
da}' on the Rebel work, neither part}' able to secure 
them, but each preventing their seizure by the other. 
After dark, a National soldier climbed up stealthily 
and snatched one of the flags away ; the other was 
captured by a Rebel, in the same manner, leaning over 
suddenly from above. — Gen. Badeau. 

A HOT PLACE. 

General A. J. Smith had been ordered by McClernand 
to get two guns up to this position, and called upon five 
or six batteries successively ; but the captains all pro- 
tested that it was impossible to drag guns, by hand, 
down one slope and up another under fire. Smith 
however, exclaimed, 4 - 1 know a battery that will go to 
hell if you order it there." So he sent for Captain 
White, of the Chicago Mercantile Battery, and told him 
what he wanted. White replied, 4t Yes, sir, I will take 
my guns there." And his men actually dragged the 
pieces over the rough ground, by hand, carrying the 
ammunition in their haversacks. One gun was stuck 
on the way, but the other they hauled up so near the 
Rebel works, that it was difficult to elevate it sufficiently 
to be of use ; finally, however, White succeeded in firing 
it into an embrasure, disabling a gun just ready to be 



108 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



discharged, and scattering death among the Rebel can- 
noneers. A detachment here got into the work, but the 
Rebels rallied and captured every man. These were the 
only troops that actually carried or gained possession 
even for a moment of any portion of the enemy's line. 
— Gen. Badeau. 

CAVE LIFE IN VICKSBCRG. — THE CAVES. 

Our new habitation was an excavation made in an 
earth-bank and branching six feet from the entrance, 
forming a cave in the shape of a T. In one of the wings 
my bed fitted ; the other I used as a kind of dressing- 
room ; in this the earth had been cut down a foot or 
two below the floor of the main cave. I could stand 
erect here : and when tired of sitting in other portions 
of my residence. I bowed myself into it, and stood im- 
passively resting at full height, — one of the variations 
in the still, shell-expectant life 

THE SHELLS. 

My heart stood still as we would hear the reports 
from the guns, and the rushing and fearful sound of the 
shell as it came toward us. As it neared, the noise 
became more deafening : the air was full of the rushing 
sound ; pains darted through my temples, my ears were 
full of the confusing noise : and, as it exploded, the 
report flashed through my head like an electric shock, 
leaving me in a quiet state of terror, the most painful 
that I can imagine, — cowering in a corner, holding my 
child to my heart. — the only feeling of my life being the 
choking throbs of my heart, that rendered me almost 
breathless. As singly they fell short, or beyond the 
cave. I was aroused by a feeling of thankfulness that 
was of short duration. Again and again the terrible 
fright came over us in that night. 

I saw one fall in the road without the mouth of the 
cave, like a flame of fire, making the earth tremble, and, 



VICKSBURG. 



109 



with a low, singing sound, the fragments sped on in 
their work of death. 

Morning found us more dead than alive, with blanched 
faces and trembling lips. We were not reassured on 
hearing, from a man who took refuge in the cave, that 
a mortar shell in falling would not consider the thick- 
ness of the earth above us a circumstance. 

Some of the ladies, more courageous b}~ daylight, 
asked him what he was in there for, if that was the 
case. He was silenced for an hour, when he left 

PRECAUTIONS . 

The night was so warm, and the cave so close, that 
I tried to sit out at the entrance ; George [the servant] 
saying he would keep watch, and tell when the}' were 
failing toward us. Soon the report of the gun would be 
heard, and George, standing on the hillock of loose 
earth near the cave, looked intently upward ; while I, 
with suspended breath, would listen anxiously, as he 
cried, " Here she comes ! going right over ! " then again, 
" Coming, — falling, — falling right dis wa}' ! " Then 
I would spring to my feet, and for a moment hesitate 
about the protection of the cave. Suddenly, as the 
rushing descent was heard, I would beat a precipitate 
retreat into it, followed by the servant 

A RESCUE. 

I ran to the little dressing-room, and could hear them 
striking around us on all sides. I crouched closely 
against the wall, for I did not know at what moment 
one might strike within the cave. A man came in much 
frightened, and asked to remain until the danger was 
over. The servants stood in the little niche by the bed, 
and the man took refuge in the small ell where I was 
stationed. He had been there but a short time, stand- 
ing in front of me, and near the wall, when a Parrott 
shell came whirling in at the entrance, and fell in the 



110 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



centre of the cave before us all, lying there smoking. 
Our eyes were fastened upon it, while we expected every 
moment the terrific explosion would ensue. I pressed 
my child closer to m}' heart, and drew nearer to the 
wall. Our fate seemed almost certain. The poor man 
who had sought refuge within was most exposed of all. 
With a sudden impulse, I seized a large double blanket 
that lay near, and gave it to him for the purpose ot 
shielding him from the fragments ; and thus we re- 
mained for a moment, with our eyes fixed in terror on 
the missile of death, when George, the servant boy, 
rushed forward, seized the shell, and threw it into the 
street, running swiftly in the opposite direction. For- 
tunately, the fuse had become nearly extinguished, and 
the shell fell harmless, — remaining near the mouth of 
the cave, as a trophy of the fearlessness of the servant 
and our remarkable escape 

Nor was this all. I had occasion to go to the mouth 
of the cave one evening to speak to George ; and there, 
with an enlightened audience of servants from the sur- 
rounding caves collected near him, George was going 
through a grave pantomime of the whole affair. It seems 
that he expected the refugee to act the part of preserver 
in our extremity, and throw out the shell ; but, as he 
was disappointed in the matter, he represented him in 
the most ridiculous manner possible to the audience. 

Pressing up closely to the wheel of a wagon near by, 
George extended his eyes, holding out his hand as with 
a shell, and shrinking with the semblance of extreme 
terror, that amused his spectators vastly ; then, chan- 
ging the whole character, he put on the bravest port 
imaginable, pushing his hat, with an independent air, 
on the side of his head, and, assuming a don't-carish 
look, he sauntered forward to a large piece of shell that 
lay conveniently near, caught it with both hands, gave 
it a careless swing and throw far different from the 
reality, turned on his heels, walked back to the wagon, 
with the peculiar swinging step of a proud negro ; then, 
leaning his arm on the wheel, carelessly surveyed his 



VICKSBURG. 



Ill 



audience with a look that plainly said, " What do you 
think o* dat, niggers ? " . . . . 

IN THE RIFLE-PITS. 

So they sat cramped up all clay in the pits, their 
rations cooked in the valley and brought to them, — 
scarcely daring to change their positions and stand 
erect, for the Federal sharp-shooters were watching for 
their heads ; and to rise above the breastworks was 
almost certain death 

They amused themselves, while lying in the pits, by 
cutting out little trinkets from the wood of the parapet 
and the Minie balls that fell around them. Major Fry, 
from Texas, excelled in skill and ready invention ; . . . . 
he sent me one day an arm-chair that he had cut from 
a Minie ball, — the most minute affair of the kind I ever 
saw, 3'et perfectly symmetrical. At another time he 
sent me a diminutive plough, made from the parapet 
work, with traces of lead, and a lead point made from 
a Minie ball 

SHRAPNEL. 

There is one missile, were I a soldier, that would 
totally put me to rout, — and that is a Shrapnel shell. 
Only those who have heard several coming at a time, 
exploding near, and scattering several hundreds of 
small balls around, can tell how fearful is the noise 
they make, — a wild scream, — a clattering and whiz- 
zing sound that never fails in striking terror to my 
heart ! It seemed sometimes that as many as fifty 
balls fell immediately around our door. I could have 
sent out at any time, near the entrance of our cave, 
and had a bucketful of balls from Shrapnel and the 
Minie rifle, picked up in the shortest possible time. — 
A Southern Lady. 



112 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



CONDUCT OF THE SIEGE. 

The lack of engineer officers gave the siege one of its 
peculiar characteristics : at many times, and at different 
places, the work to be done depended on officers and 
men without either theoretical or practical knowledge 
of siege operations, and who had. therefore, to rely, 
almost exclusively, on their native good-sense and in- 
genuity. Whether a battery was to be constructed by 
men who had never built one before, or sap-rollers 
made by those who had never heard the name, or a 
ship's gun-carriage put together by infantry soldiers, it 
was always done. and. alter a few trials, well done. 
This fertility of resource and power of adaptation to 
circumstances, possessed in so high a degree by the 
volunteers, was. however, displayed while a relieving 
force was gathering in Grant's rear. Officers and men 
had to learn to be engineers while the siege was going 
on. Much valuable time was in this way lost, and 
many a shovelful of earth was thrown that brought the 
siege no nearer to an end. 

One result of this scarcity of engineers was. that 
Grant gave more personal attention to the supervision 
of the siege than he would otherwise have done. His 
military education fitted him for the duty, and he rode 
daily around the lines, directing the scientific opera- 
tions, infusing his spirit into all his subordinates, 
pressing them on with energy to the completion of their 
task. and. with unflagging persistency, devising and 
employing every means to bring about the great end to 
which all labor, skill, and acquirement was made to 
tend 

At one point the enemy's salient was too high for the 
besiegers to be able to return the hand-grenades which 
were thrown into the trenches so freely. There were 
no Cohorn mortars with the army, and wooden mortars 
were therefore made, by shrinking iron bands on cylin- 
ders of tough wood, and boring them out for six and 



V1CKSDURG. 



113 



twelve pound shells. These mortars stood firing well, 
and gave good results at a distance of one hundred or 
one hundred and lift}' yards. — Gen, Badean. 

grant's confidence in himself. 

He was one da}' riding around his lines, and stopped 
for water at the house of a Rebel woman who had re- 
mained within her shattered walls, not changing her 
disloyal sentiments. She asked Grant, tauntingly, if 
he expected ever to get into Vicksburg. " Certainly, " 
he replied. 44 But when?" 44 1 cannot tell exactly 
when I shall take the town, but I mean to stay here till 
I do, if it takes me thirty years" The woman's heart 
seemed to fail her at the reply. Apparently, she had 
hoped that her friends would be able to tire out the be- 
siegers, even if they could not drive them off; but this 
waiting thirty years, if necessary, was a greater per 
sistency than she had contemplated. — - Gen, Badeau. 

THE MINES. 

Meanwhile the head of sap had reached the ene- 
my's lines, on the Grave-yard and Jackson roads, and 
in Ransom's front as well as on the Baldwin and Hall's 
Ferry roads. Mining had been resorted to by both be- 
siegers and besieged, and, on the Jackson road, Grant 
fired a heavy mine on the 25th of June. It extended 
thirty-five feet from the point of starting ; fifteen hun- 
dred pounds of powder were deposited in three different 
branch mines, and seven hundred in the centre one ; 
fuses were arranged so as to explode them all at the same 
instant, and the mine was tamped with cross-timbers 
and sand-bags. Troops were disposed so as to take ad- 
vantage of any result. At three and a half p. M. the 
explosion took place, and a heavy artillery-fire opened 
along the line at the same moment. Huge masses of 
earth were thrown up in the air, and the ground was 
shaken as if by a volcano. As soon as the earth was 
8 



114 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



rent, a bright glare of fire issued from the burning, 
powder, but quickly died away, as there was nothing 
combustible in the fort. A few Eebel soldiers were 
hurled into the air, one or two of whom came down 
alive inside the National lines. The enemy, however, 
had detected the building of the mine, and, in anticipa- 
tion of the explosion, removed most of his troops be- 
hind a new line in the rear. Countermining had also 
been resorted to by the Rebels, and several sappers who 
were in the lower shaft were buried ; all the troops in 
the neighborhood were jarred by the shock. 

The cavit}' made was large enough to hold two regi- 
muits, and, as soon as the partial destruction of the 
parapet was discovered, a column of Grant's infantry, 
which had been concealed in a hollow beneath the fort, 
rushed forward with loud cheers to gain possession of 
the breach. The ditch and slope were gained, and a 
desperate struggle ensued in the crater, but the Rebels 
soon retired to their interior line, only a few feet back. 
Pioneers went to work at once, clearing an entrance to 
the crater ; but both sides were reinforced promptly, and 
no further result was attained. The loss to the National 
side was thirty men in killed and wounded, and to the 
besieged about the same. 

The crater was cone-shaped, and entirely exposed to 
field projectiles or loaded shells thrown by hand, but 
McPherson's men rushed into the gulf, lighting and 
throwing grenades in return. The enemy, however, 
from his higher position, could throw ten shells to their 
one, and, in nearly every case, with deadly effect ; in- 
deed, the Rebels had only to lay the lighted missiles on 
the parapet and roll them down. But, on the night 
after the explosion, details from Leggett's brigade re- 
lieved each other in the attempt to hold the crater. Xo 
systematic attempt could be made to carry the enemy's 
work, or to take possession of his parapet and run 
boyaux along the exterior slope ; yet, all night long, 
parties of men, fifty, sixty, or eight}' at a time, stood in 
the crater, along its sides not shaped into banquettes, 



VICKSBURG. 



115 



and fired at an enemy they could not see ; for after the 
first hour the Rebels ceased to appear on the parapet at 
all, contenting themselves with the use of the grenades. 

After a while, feathered grenades were given to the 
National troops, and thrown inside the Rebel line with 
some effect ; but many of these failed to explode, and 
were hurled back by the Rebels with terrible results. 
Boxes of field-ammunition were also brought out by the 
enemy, who lighted them with port-fires and threw them 
by hand into the crater. Nearly every one took effect, 
killing and wounding sometimes half a dozen men. 
The crater was called b} T the soldiers the ' 1 death-hole " ; 
but the ground that had been gained was held through 
all the horrors of the night, and rifle-pits next day were 
built across the aperture. A covered gallery was also at 
once commenced, from which further mines or counter- 
mines might lead. 

As it was found impossible to continue the work 
until the Rebels were driven from the outer face of the 
opposing parapet, another mine was at once begun. 
This was sprung on the 1st of July. The result was 
the destruction of an entire redan, leaving only an im- 
mense chasm where the Rebel work had stood. The 
greater portion of the earth was thrown towards the 
National forces, the line of least resistance being in that 
direction. The Rebel interior line, however, was much 
injured, and many of those manning the works were 
killed or wounded. But no serious attempt to charge 
was made, the result of the assaults on the 25th having 
been so inconsiderable. — Gen. Badeau. 

FROM A REBEL ACCOUNT. 

Among the casualties during the siege were three 
women and three children, and four men [non-comba- 
tant]. Among the troops the casualties were greater. 
Most of these were sick or wounded, and in the hospi- 
tals. A number were severely injured, and numerous 
limbs were lost. Some most remarkable and ludicrous 
escapes were made. 



116 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



I remember that one man had his head blown off 
while in the act of picking up his child. One man had 
a shell explode close by him. and lift him some distance 
in the air. Many strange escapes and incidents are 
spoken of. — so many that they have not been specially 
noticed. 

One shell fell and exploded between two officers as 
they were riding together on the street, and lifted both 
horses and riders into the air without hurting either 
man or beast. One woman had just risen from her 
chair when a shell came through the roof, took her seat, 
and shattered the house without injuring the lady : and 
a hundred other similar cases. A little girl, the daugh- 
ter of Mr. Jones, was sitting at the entrance of a cave, 
when a Parrott shell entered the portal and took her 
head right off. Surely this is terrible warfare which 
dooms the innocent lambs to inhuman slaughter. 

THE TOWNSMEN'S PROTECTION. 

The greatest curiosities are the caves hewn into the 
banks of earth, in which the women and children and 
non-combatants crept during the heat of the bombard- 
ment. At night, and sometimes during an entire da}', 
the whole of the people would be confined to these cav- 
erns. They are constructed about the height of a man 
and three feet wide, a fork Y shaped into the bank. 
There are perhaps five hundred of these caves in the 
city around the works. As many as fifteen have been 
crowded into one of them. — St. Louis Republican. 

THE MEETING OF GRANT AND PEMBERTON. 

Thousands of soldiers looked upon the strange scene. 
Two men who had been lieutenants in the same regi- 
ment in Mexico, now met as foes, with all the world 

looking upon them AY hen they had approached 

within a few feet there was a halt and silence. Colonel 
"Montgomery spoke: "General Grant, General Pern- 



VICKSBURG. 



Ill 



berton." They shook hands politely, but Pemberton 
was evidently mortified. He said : " I was at Monterey 
and Buena Vista. We had terms and conditions there." 
General Grant here took him aside, and the}' sat down 
on the grass and talked more than an hour. Grant 
smoked all the time ; Pemberton played with the grass 
and pulled leaves. It was finally agreed to parole them, 
allowing the officers each his horse. This was a politic 
thing. The dread of going North and fear of harsh 
treatment had deterred them from capitulating sooner. 

Our men treated the Rebels with kindness, giving 
them coffee, which some had not tasted for a } T ear. The 
city is much dilapidated, and many houses are injured. 
The Vicksburg paper of July 2d admits the eating of 
mule meat, and the pilfering of soldiers. 

THE SURRENDER. 

They marched out of their intrenchments by regiments 
upon the grassy declivity immediately outside their fort ; 
they stacked their arms, hung their colors upon the 
centre, laid off their knapsacks, belts, cartridge-boxes, 
and cap-pouches, and, thus shorn of the accoutrements 
of the soldier, returned inside their works, and thence 
down the Jackson road into the city. The men went 
through the ceremony with that look so touching on a 
soldier's face ; not a word was spoken ; there was none 
of that gay badinage we are so much accustomed to 
hear from the ranks of regiments marching through our 
streets ; the few words of command necessary were 
given by their own officers in that low tone of voice we 
hear used at funerals 

At Forney's head-quarters .... were gathered all the 
notables of both armies. In a damask armed rocking- 
chair sat Lieut. -Gen. Pemberton, the most discontented- 
looking man I ever saw. Presently there appeared in 
the midst of the throng a man small in stature, heavily 
set, stoop-shouldered, a broad face, covered with a 
short, sandy beard, habited in a plain suit of blue flan- 



118 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



nel, with the two stars upon his shoulder denoting a 
Major-General in the United States arm}'. He ap- 
proached Pemberton and entered into conversation with 
him ; there was no vacant chair, but neither Pemberton 
nor any of his generals offered him a seat, and thus for 
five minutes the conqueror stood talking to the van- 
quished seated, when Grant turned away into the house 
and left Pemberton to his pride or his grief, — it was 
hard to tell which. — Cincinnati Commercial. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



GETTYSBURG. 



T the moment of General Lee's retreat after 



Antietam, General McClellan was at the very 
height of a new wave of popularity. But the 
country which was eager to see Lee's retreat fol- 
lowed was again disappointed. " Can you tell me 
why General McClellan does not advance ? " said 
a distinguished statesman to President Lincoln. 
" I cannot guess," said the President, " and I do 
not know." In his own despatches, written long 
after, the boys found his reasons. He thought his 
army not at all prepared for a winter campaign. 
Meanwhile General Burnside had conducted with 
spirit a campaign on the coast of North Carolina, 
and the President was eager to give the army to 
some one who had the confidence of the nation ; 
and after McClellan had at last started with the 
aimy, Burnside was appointed in his place. 

This time Lee selected the line of the Rappa- 
hannock for his line of defence, and here the two 
armies looked at each other across the stream, till 
Burnside, whose force was superior, boldly crossed, 




120 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



on the 10th of December, and began a series of 
attacks which lasted for three days, but failed. 
On the 15th, he withdrew all his men. Following 
the old policy of never retaining unsuccessful 
generals, the President superseded Burnside by 
General Joseph Hooker, an officer so vigorous and 
spirited that he had the nickname in the army of 
4 - Fighting Joe Hooker.'* He attempted to dislodge 
Lee's army by another attack. He crossed the 
river on the 28th, and the battle known as the 
battle of Chanceliorsville followed. It was a series 
of bloody conflicts which lasted three days. In 
the end the Union army was again withdrawn, after 
losing twelve thousand in killed and wounded, and 
five thousand prisoners. The Rebels lost ten 
thousand in killed and wounded, and three thou- 
sand prisoners. 

Lee chose this opportunity for another rapid 
and secret movement upon the Northern States. 
Hooker's army was discouraged. Lee's, well rein- 
forced, was in high spirits. Each army had about 
seventy thousand men. 

Lee's plan was to move swiftly and silently, 
without Hooker's knowledge, beyond the first 
range of the Alleghanies to the Shenandoah Valley. 
He then could march on Philadelphia or Baltimore 
before Hooker could catch up with him, and could 
avoid the strong fortifications of Washington, 
which would delay him too much. He was to live 
on the country, keeping open his lines of connec- 



GETTYSBURG. 



121 



tion through the Shenandoah Valley for his am- 
munition trains only. 

If it had not been for those wretched ammuni- 
tion trains, how much longer might not the war 
have been prolonged! But the army's present 
supply of powder was not large enough for Lee to 
rely on, and he had to depend on what they sent 
from Richmond, and little enough — too little in- 
deed — it proved. 

Well and quietly did Lee move to the Shenan- 
doah, but not without alarming Hooker. Lee was 
gone, but where? North or west it must be, so 
Hooker broke camp and moved himself westward 
and northward till the news came of the capture 
by the Rebels of Winchester on the Shenandoah, 
and later that j;he rebel advance was crossing the 
Potomac. So Hooker crossed the Potomac too, 
and marched northwest still, to threaten Lee's 
lines of supply ; for if you step on the tail of an 
army it will curl round its head to bite you. 

It was in this march that General Hooker had 
some difference with General Halleck, from Wash- 
ington, who commanded the armies, about the 
use of the troops at Harper's Ferry. Hooker asked 
Halleck for them, Halleck refused him, and Hooker 
resigned. In his place was appointed General 
Meade, who was in command of the Fifth Corps, 
and who had distinguished himself at Fredericks- 
burg, and under General Meade our soldiers fought 
the battle of Gettysburg. 



122 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



When Lee left the Rappahannock he left behind 
most of his cavalry under General Stuart, a dash- 
ing officer who had much the same reputation that 
our General Custer had later. Stuart was to 
watch the Union army, and when they crossed the 
Potomac Lee was to be informed. But Stuart, 
like other cavalry officers, was too fond of dashing 
excursions, and he reconnoitred to such an extent 
that when he found the Union army it was be- 
tween him and Lee. The Union army crossed the 
Potomac, and so long was the detour that Stuart 
had to make. that, when the news arrived, Lee had 
already felt the pressure on his army's snake-tail, 
and was turning round to the east to bite his 
assailant. He had hoped to manoeuvre so that he 
should be always on the defensive, but — that 
ammunition ! 

So. on the last day of June, the two armies were 
blindly approaching each other. Each knew that 
the other was north of the Potomac, but that was 
all. Lee was marching eastward toward Gettys- 
burg, Meade was marching northward toward 
Gettysburg. They did not know it, but it was 
fated that at Gettysburg they should meet. 

Meade's plan of action was to take up a defen- 
sive position on Pipe Creek, to the east of Gettys- 
burg ; he had given his orders for the march of 
July 2d, and according to his programme his left 
wing under Reynolds was to occupy Gettysburg. 
The rest of the army was to the south and east, 
at different towns in the neighborhood. 



GETTYSBURG, 



123 



Reynolds led his men to Gettysburg on July 1st, 
and had taken possession when he was informed 
of the advance of the Rebels from the west. 
Hastily he deployed such of his men as had come 
up to meet the enemy, and fought successfully for 
a short time ; but as the regiments on regiments 
of Lee's column came up, Reynolds's corps was 
outnumbered. In the sharp action which took 
place Reynolds Avas killed, and his men, under 
Howard, retreated beyond the town southward to 
the heights of Cemetery Ridge. Here they made 
a stand, though a large number of them had been 
surrounded and captured in the streets of the 
town. 

These heights south of Gettysburg were the 
Union lines during the battle of the next two 
days. In shape they are like a fish-hook lying 
north and south with the point on the eastern side. 
The straight part is Cemetery Ridge, ending at the 
south in two hills easily fortified. Here was the 
left flank of the Union army. The lines extended 
northward along Cemetery Ridge, and then, as they 
stretched to the right, they turned to the east and 
south. On the night of the 1st, Meade brought 
up the rest of his command, and next morning he 
drew it up on the crest of this range of hills. 

But a mistake was made in the arrangement. 
General Sickles, on the left, instead of taking his 
place on the crest of the hill, drew up his men on 
a lower range of hills to the front of the real line. 



124 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



As he had also to occupy the two hills on the left 
his line was a V with the vertex turned toward 
the enemy, and a very thin line of men made the 
V, for he had none too many to fill the ground 
allotted him. 

So when Lee made his attack on both flanks on 
the 2d, Lohgstreet's men easily drove Sickles back, 
though reinforced, to the ground he should have 
taken in the beginning. At the same time the 
Union right was slightly driven in, and at night 
the Rebels, having gained ground on both flanks, 
went to sleep in jubilant expectation. 

The next day, the 3d of July, Lee saw that the 
flanks had been pushed back as far as was prac- 
ticable, and he ordered an attack on the centre, — 
just where the fish-hook begins to bend. Before 
attacking with infantry he cannonaded the ridge. 
Our men replied ; and from one o'clock till three 
two hundred and fifty cannon were doing their 
worst. Our men, however, were well intrenched, 
and the enemy's guns did but little harm, though 
one hundred and twenty rounds were fired on our 
side, and many more on his. 

At three o'clock his main attack began. Fifteen 
thousand men were massed against our centre, and 
marched down from the ridge where they were 
posted, and up to our lines. It was nearly a mile 
for them to march under fire of our artillery, and 
half a mile under our rifles. The fire on our side 
was too tremendous, — their loss too horrible ; 



GETTYSBURG. 



125 



no soldiers could bear it. Still their broken col- 
umns rolled up the incline to our guns, but only 
to be thrown back. 

It was enough. Lee had not enough ammuni- 
tion for such another day, and sullenly he retreated 
back to the Shenandoah Valley whence he had 
come. 

On the same day Vicksburg fell. It was the 
turning point of the Rebellion. 

General Lee aferwards said that, after Gettys- 
burg, he knew that the collapse of the Rebellion 
was merely a question of time. 

DEATH OF REYNOLDS. 

General Reynolds now rode forward to inspect the 
field and ascertain the most favorable line for the dis- 
posal of his troops. One or two members of his staff 
were with him. The enemy at that instant poured in a 
cruel musketry fire upon the group of officers ; a bullet 
struck General Reynolds in the neck, wounding him 
mortally. Ciying out, with a voice that thrilled the 
hearts of his soldiers, u Forward ! for God's sake, for- 
ward ! " he turned for an instant, beheld the order 
obeyed by a line of shouting infantry, and, falling into 
the arms of Captain Wilcox, his aid, who rode beside 
him, his life went out with the words, "Good God, 
Wilcox, I am killed ! n —N. T. World. 

THE FIRST DAY'S REPULSE. 

Cutler, having the advance, opened the attack ; 
Meredith was at it a few minutes later. Short, sharp 
fighting, the enenry handsomely repulsed, three hundred 
Rebel prisoners taken, General Archer himself reported 



126 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



at their head. — such was the auspicious opening. No 
wonder the First determined to hold its ground. 

Yet they were ill-prepared for the contest that was 
coming. Their guns had sounded the tocsin for the 
Eleventh, but so had they too for Ewell, already 
marching down from York to rejoin Lee. They were 
fighting two divisions of A. P. Hill's now, numerically 
stronger than their dwindled three. Their batteries 
were not up in sufficient number, — on Meredith's left, 
a point that especially needed protection, there were 
none at all. A battery with Buford's cavalry stood 
near. Wadsworth cut red tape, and in an instant 
ordered it up. The captain, preferring red tape to red 
fields, refused to obey. Wadsworth ordered him under 
arrest, could find no officer for the battery, and finally 
fought it under a sergeant. Sergeant and captain there 
should henceforth exchange places 

Small resistance is made on our right. The Eleventh 
does not flee wildly from its old antagonists, as at their 
last meeting, when Stonewall Jackson scattered them 
as if they had been pj'gmies, foolishly venturing into 
the war of the Titans. It even makes stout resistance 
for a little while ; but the advantage of position, as of 
numbers, is all with the Rebels, and the line is forced to 
retire. It is done deliberately, and without confusion, 
till they reach the town. Here the evil genius of the 
Eleventh falls upon it again. To save the troops from 
the terrible enfilading fire through the streets the 
officers wheel them by detachments into cross-streets, 
and attempt to march thus around one square after 
another, diagonally, through the town. The Germans 
are confused by the manoeuvre ; perhaps the old panic 
at the battle-cry of Jackson's flying corps comes over 
them ; at any rate the\' break in wild confusion, some 
pouring through the town a rout, and are with difficulty 
formed again on the heights to the southward. They 
lose over one thousand two hundred prisoners in twenty 
minutes. One of their generals, Schimmelfennig, an 
old officer in the Russian service in the Crimean war, is 



GETTYSBURG. 



127 



cut off, but he shrewdly takes to cover, conceals himself 
somewhere in the town, and finally escapes. — Cincinnati 
Gazette, 

AN INCIDENT. 

General Schimmelfennig escaped capture by resorting 
to a dodge worthy of the sharpest Yankee. When he 
found his retreat cut off, he seized the coat of a private 
and buttoned it closely over his uniform ; he was 
knocked down and run over by a gang of Rebels who 
were after plunder. He then stumbled away into a 
cellar and lay there concealed and without food for two 
days ; but when he heard the bo}'s playing ' 4 Yankee 
Doodle" in the streets, he thought it safe to come out. 
He is now in command of his brigade, and ready for 
work. — Rebellion Record. 

SKIRMISHING ON THE SECOND DAY. 

All Thursday forenoon there was lively firing between 
our skirmishers and those of the enemy, but nothing 
betokening a general engagement. Standing on Cem- 
etery Hill, which, but for its exposed position, consti- 
tuted the best point of observation on the field, I could 
see the long line of our skirmishers stretching around 
centre and left, well advanced, lying fiat on the ground 
in the meadows or corn-fields, and firing at will as they 
lay. The little streak of curling smoke that rose from 
their guns faded away in a thin vapor, that marked the 
course of the lines down the left. With a glass the 
Rebel line could be even more distinctly seen, ever}^ man 
of them with his blanket strapped over his shoulder, — 
no foolish 6 4 stripping for the fight" with these trained 
soldiers. Occasionally the graj^-coated fellows rose 
from cover, and with a yell rushed on our men, firing 
as they came. Once or twice in the half-hour that I 
watched them they did this with such impetuosity as to 
force our skirmishers back, and call out a shell or two 



128 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



from our nearest batteries, — probably the very object 
their officers had in view. — Cincinnati Gazette. 

SICKLES'S MISTAKE. 

About three p. m. I rode out to the extreme left to 
await the arrival of the Fifth Corps and post it, when 
I found that Major-General Sickles, commanding the 
Third Corps, not fully apprehending my instructions in 
regard to the position to be occupied, had advanced, or 
rather was in the act of advancing, his corps some half- 
mile or three quarters of a mile in the front of the 
line of the Second Corps, on a prolongation of which it 
was designed his corps should rest. 

Having found Major-General Sickles I was explain- 
ing to him that he was too far in the advance, and dis- 
cussing with him the propriety of withdrawing, when 
the enemy opened upon him with several batteries in 
his front and his flank, and immediately brought for- 
ward columns of infantry and made a vigorous assault. 
The Third Corps sustained the shock most heroically. 
Troops from the Second Corps were immediately sent 
by Major-General Hancock to cover the right flank of 
the Third Corps, and soon after the assault com- 
menced. 

The Fifth Corps most fortunately arrived and took a 
position on the left of the Third, Major-General Sykes 
commanding, immediately sending a force to occup}' 
" Round Top" ridge, where a most furious contest was 
maintained, the enemy making desperate but unsuccess- 
ful efforts to secure it. Notwithstanding the stubborn 
resistance of the Third Corps, under Major-General 
Birney (Major-General Sickles having been wounded 
early in the action), superiority in numbers of corps of 
the enemy enabling him to outflank its advanced 
position. General Birney was counselled to fall back 
and re-form behind the line originallv desired to be 
held. 

In the mean time, perceiving the great exertions of 



GETTYSBURG. 



129 



the enemy, the Sixth Corps, Major-General Sedgwick, 
and part of the First Corps, to which I had assigned 
Major-General Newton, particularly Lockwood's Mary- 
land Brigade, together with detachments from the 
Second Corps, were all brought up at different periods, 
and succeeded, together with a gallant resistance of the 
Fifth Corps, in checking and finally repulsing the 
assault of the enemy, who retired in confusion and dis- 
order about sunset, and ceased any further efforts on 
our extreme left. — Maj.-Gen. Meade. 

THE SECOND DAY'S REPULSE ON THE LEFT. 

I cannot trace the movements further in detail ; let 
me give one phase of the fight, fit type of. many more. 
Some Massachusetts batteries, — Captain Bigelow's, 
Captain Phillips's, — two or three more under Captain 
McGilroy of Maine, were planted on the extreme left, 
advanced now w r ell down to the Emmetsburgh road, 
with infantry in their front, — the first division, I think, 
of Sickles's corps. A little after five a fierce Rebel 
charge drove back the infantry and menaced the bat- 
teries. Orders are sent to Bigelow, on the extreme left, 
to hold his position at every hazard short of sheer 
annihilation, till a couple more batteries can be brought 
to his support. Reserving his fire a little, then with 
depressed guns opening with double charges of grape 
and canister, he smites and shatters, but cannot break 
the advancing line. His grape and canister are ex- 
hausted, and still closely, grandly up over their slain 
on they come. He falls back on spherical case, and 
pours this in at the shortest range. On, still onward 
comes the artillery-defying line, and still he holds his 
position. They are within six paces of the gurfs, — he 
fires again. Once more and he blows devoted soldiers 
from his very muzzles, and, still mindful of that solemn 
order, he holds his place. They spring upon his car- 
riages and- shoot down his horses ! And then, his 
Yankee artillerists still about him, he seizes the guns 

9 



130 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



with the hand, and from the very front of that line drags 
two of them off. The caissons are further back, — five 
out of the six are saved. 

That single company, in that half-hour's fight, lost 
thirty-three of its men, including ever}' sergeant it had. 
The Captain himself was wounded. Yet it was the 
first time it was ever under fire ! I give it simply as a 
type. So they fought along that fiery line ! — Cincinnati 
Gazette. 

JOHN BURNS. 

On the morning of the first day's fight at Gettysburg, 
he sent, his wife away, telling her that he would take 
care of the house. The firing was near by, over Sem- 
inary Ridge. Soon a wounded soldier came into the 
town and stopped at an old house on the opposite cor- 
ner. Burns saw the poor fellow lay down his musket, 
and the inspiration to go into the battle seems the first 
to have seized him. He went over and demanded the 
gun. 

1 4 What are you going to do with it ? " asked the 
soldier. 

"I'm going to shoot some of the damned Rebels;" 
replied John. 

He is not a swearing man ; and the adjective is to be 
taken in a strictly literal, not a profane sense. 

Having obtained the gun. he pushed out on the Chani- 
bersburg Pike, and was soon in the thick of the skirmish. 

"I wore a high-crowned hat and a long-tailed blue, 
and I was seventy years old," said he. 

The sight of so old a man. in such costume, rushing 
fearlessly forward to get a shot in the very front of the 
battle of course attracted attention. He fought with 
the Seventh Wisconsin Regiment, the colonel of which 
ordered him back and questioned him : and finally, see- 
ing the old man's patriotic determination, gave him a 
good rifle in place of the musket he had brought with him. 

44 Are you a good shot?" 



GETTYSBURG. 



131 



"Tolerable good," said John, who is an old fox- 
hunter. 

' 6 Do }'Ou see that Rebel riding yonder ? " 
"I do." 

"Can you fetch him?" 
" I can try." 

The old man took deliberate aim, and fired. He 
does n't say he killed the Rebel, but simply that his shot 
was cheered by the Wisconsin boys, and that afterward 
the horse the Rebel rode was seen galloping with an 
empty saddle. " That 's all I know about it." 

He fought until our forces were driven back in the 
afternoon. He had already received two slight wounds, 
and a third one through the arm, to which he paid little 
attention. u Only the blood running down my hand 
bothered me a heap." Then, as he was slowly falling 
back with the rest, he received a final shot through the 
leg. "Down I went, aud the whole Rebel army ran 
over me." Helpless, nearly bleeding to death from his 
wounds, he lay upon the field all night. 

4 • About sun-up the next morning I crawled to a 
neighbor's house, and found it full of wounded Rebels." 
The neighbor afterwards took him to his own house, 
which had also been turned into a Rebel hospital. — At- 
lantic Monthly. 

THE THIRD DAY'S ATTACK. 

Soon from the Cemetery Hill (I did not see this, but 
tell it as actors in it told me) could be seen the forming 
columns of Hill's corps. Their batteries had already 
opened in almost a semicircle of fire on that scarred 
hill-front. Three cross-fires thus came in upon it, and 
to-day the tracks of shells ploughing the ground in as 
many directions may be seen everywhere among the 
graves. Howard never moved his head-quarters an 
inch. There was his Eleventh Corps, and there he 
meant to stay, and make them do their duty if he could. 
They did it well. 



132 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



When the fierce cannonade had. as they supposed, 
sufficiently prepared the way. down came the Rebel 
lines. " dressed to the right," as if for a parade before 
some grand master of reviews. To the front they had 
a line of skirmishers, double or treble the usual strength, 
next the line of battle for the charge, next another 
equally strong in reserve, if the fierce fire they might 
meet should melt away the first. 

Howard sent orders for his men to lie down, and for 
a little our batteries ceased firing. The Rebels thought 
they had silenced us, and charged. They were well up 
to our front when the whole corps of concealed Ger- 
mans sprang np and poured out then* sheet of flame and 
smoke, and swiftly flying death ; the batteries opened, 
the solid lines broke and crisped up into little frag- 
ments, and were beaten wildly back. Our men charged, 
company after company, once at least a whole regiment, 
threw down down their arms, and rushed over to be 
taken prisoners and carried out of this fearful fire. 

Simultaneously, similar scenes were enacting along 
the front of the Second, Third, and Fifth Corps. 
Everywhere the Rebel attack was beaten back, and the 
cannonade on both sides continued at its highest pitch. 

When this broke out I had been coming over from 
the neighborhood of Pleasanton's head-quarters/ As- 
cending the high hill to the rear of Slocum's head-quar- 
ters, I saw such a sight as few men may ever hope to 
see twice in a lifetime. Around our centre and left 
the Rebel line must have been from four to* five miles 
long, and over that whole length there rolled up the 
smoke from their two hundred and fifty guns. The 
roar, the bursting bombs, the impression of magnificent 
power, "all the glory visible, all the horror of the 
fearful field concealed." a nation's existence trembling 
as the clangor of those iron monsters swayed the bal- 
ance, — it was a sensation for a century ! 

About two the fire slackened a little, then broke out 
deadlier than ever, till, beaten out against our impene- 
trable sides, it ebbed away, and closed in broken, spas- 
modic dashes. — Cincinnati Gazette. 



GETTYSBURG. 



133 



THE THIRD DAY'S ATTACK. 

Then there was a lull, and we knew that the Rebel 
infantry was charging. And splendidly they did this 
work, the highest and severest test of the stuff soldiers 
are made of. Hill's division in the line of battle came 
first on the double-quick, their muskets at the " right- 
shoulder-shift. " Longstreet's came as the support, at 
the usual distance, with war-cries and a. savage insolence 
as yet untutored by defeat. They rushed in perfect 
order across the open field, up to the very muzzles of 
the guns, which tore lanes through them as they came. 

But they met men who were their equals in spirit and 
their superiors in tenacity. There never was better 
fighting since Thermopylae than was done yesterda}* by 
our infantry and artiller}^. The Rebels were over our de- 
fences. They had cleared cannoneers and horses from 
one of the guns, and were whirling it around to use 
upon us. The ba}T>net drove them back. But so hard 
pressed was this brave infantry, that at one time, from 
the exhaustion of their ammunition, ever} r battery upon 
the principal crest of attack was silent except Crowen's. 

His services of grape and canister were awful. It 
enabled our line, outnumbered two to one, first to beat 
back Longstreet, and then to charge upon him and take 
a great number of prisoners. Strange sight ! So ter- 
rible was our musketry and artillery fire, that, when 
Armistead's brigade was checked in its charge and 
stood reeling, all of its men dropped their muskets and 
crawled on their hands and knees underneath the 
stream of shot, till close to our troops, where they 
made signs of surrendering. They passed through our 
ranks scarcely noticed, and slowly went down the slope 
to the road in the rear. — N. T. Times. 

FROM A SOUTHERN POINT OF VIEW. 

Now the storming party was moved up. Pickett's 
division in advance, supported on the right by Wilcox's 



134 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



brigade and on the left by Heth's division, commanded 
by Pettigrew. The left of Pickett's division occupied 
the same ground over which Wright had passed the day 
before. I stood upon an eminence and watched this 
advance with great interest ; I had seen brave men 
pass over that fated valley the day before ; I had wit- 
nessed their death-struggle with the foe on the opposite 
heights ; I had observed their return with shattered 
ranks, a bleeding mass, but with unstained banners. 
Now I saw their valiant comrades prepare for the same 
bloody trial, and already felt that their efforts would be 
vain unless their supports should be as true as steel and 
brave as lions. Now the}' move forward, with steady, 
measured tread they advance upon the foe. Their ban- 
ners float defiantly in the breeze, as onward in beautiful 
order the}' press across the plain. I have never seen 
since the war began (and I have been in all the great 
fights of this army) troops enter a fight in such splen- 
did order as d-icl this splendid division of Pickett's. 
Now Pettigrew' s command emerges from the woods 
upon Pickett's left, and sweeps down the slope of the 
hill to the valley beneath, and some two or three hun- 
dred yards in rear of Pickett. I saw by the wavering 
of this line as they entered the conflict that they wanted 
the firmness of nerve and steadiness of tread which so 
characterized Pickett's men, and I felt that these men 
would not, could not stand the tremendous ordeal to 
which they would be soon subjected. These were 
mostly raw troops, which had been recently brought 
from the South, and who had, perhaps, never been 
under fire, — who certainly had never been in any very 
severe fight, — and I trembled for their conduct. Just 
as Pickett was getting well under the enemy's fire, our 
batteries ceased firing. This was a fearful moment for 
Pickett and his brave command. Why do not our guns 
re-open their fire ? is the inquiry that rises upon every 
lip. Still our batteries are silent as death ! But on 
press Pickett's brave Virginians ; and now the enemy 
open upon them, from more than fifty guns, a terrible 



GETTYSBURG. 



135 



fire of grape, shell, and canister. On, on the}^ move, in 
unbroken line, delivering a deadly fire as they advance. 
Now they have reached the Emmetsburgh road, and 
here they meet a severe fire from the heavy masses of 
the enemy's infant^, posted behind the stone fence, 
while their artillery, now free from the annoyance of 
our artillery, turn their whole fire upon this devoted 
band. Still they remain firm. Now again they ad- 
vance ; they storm the stone fence ; the Yankees fly. 
The enemy's batteries are, one by one, silenced in quick 
succession as Pickett's men deliver their fire at the gun- 
ners and drive them from their pieces. I see Kemper 
and Armistead plant their banner in the enemy's works. 
I hear their glad shout of victory ! 

Let us look after Pettigrew's division. Where are 
they now? While the victorious shout of the gallant 
Virginians is still ringing in my ears, I turn my eyes to 
the left, and there, all over the plain, in utmost con- 
fusion, is scattered this strong division. Their line is 
broken ; they are fiying, apparently panic-stricken, to 
the rear. The gallant Pettigrew is wounded ; but he 
still retains command, and is vainly striving to rally his 
men. Still the moving mass rush pell-mell to the rear, 
and Pickett is left alone to contend with the hordes of 
the eneimr now pouring in upon him on every side. 
Garnett falls, killed by a minie ball, and Kemper, the 
brave and chivalrous, reels under a mortal w r ound, and 
is taken to the rear. Now the enemy move around 
strong flanking bodies of infantry, and are rapidly gain- 
ing Pickett's rear. The order is given to fall back, and 
our men commence the movement, doggedly contending 
for every inch of ground. The enem}' press heavily 
our retreating line, and many noble spirits who had 
passed safely through the fiery ordeal of the advance 
and charge now fall on the right and on the left. 
Armistead is wounded, and left in the enemy's hands. 
At this critical moment the shattered remnant of 
Wright's Georgia brigade is moved forward to cover 
their retreat, and the fight closes here. Our loss in this 



136 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



charge was very severe*, and the Yankee prisoners taken 
acknowledge that theirs was immense. — Richmond En- 
quirer. 

A REBEL CHAKGE. 

Reaching my post I looked up the line and there 
stood the brave Stuart, calmly waiting for the troops 
to get in position. " Fix bayonets ! " was the command, 
quietly giveu, and the last act in this bloody drama was 
about to be enacted. It was a dreadful moment. But 
one brief second of life yet left ! The sword of the 
general is raised on high ! " Forward, double-quick ! " 
rings out in clarion tones, and the race to meet death 
began. The fated brigade emerged from the woods 
into the open plain, and here, O God ! what a fire 
greeted us, and the death-shriek rends the air on every 
side ! But on the gallant survivors pressed, closing up 
the dreadful gaps as fast as they were made. At this 
moment I felt a violent shock, and found myself instantly 
stretched upon the ground. I had experienced the 
feeling before, and knew what it meant, but to save me 
I could not tell where I was struck. In the excitement 
I felt not the pain, and, resting upon my elbow, anxiously 
watched that struggling column. Column, did I sa}-? 
A column no longer, but the torn and scattered frag- 
ments of one. But flesh and blood could not live in 
such a fire ; and a handful of survivors of what had 
been a little more than twelve hours before the pride 
and boast of the army sought to reach the cover of the 
woods. — Maj. Golasborough, 1st Md. C. S. A. 

THE THICK OF THE FIGHT. 

Men fired in each other's faces not five feet apart. 
There were bayonet-thrusts, cuttings with sabres, 
pistol-shots, cool, deliberate movements on the part of 
some, — hot. passionate, despairing efforts with others, 
— hand-to-hand contests. There was recklessness of 



GETTYSBURG. 



137 



life, ten a rity of purpose, oaths, curses, yells, hurrahs, 
shoutings, — men went down, some on their faces, some 
leaping into the air with exclamations wrung from their 
hearts. There were ghastly heaps of dead where the 
cannon tore open the ranks. — C. C. Coffin, 

ADVANCE OF THE COLORS. 

When the fight was most terrific, Colonel Hall, com- 
manding the brigade, quietly ordered the color-bearer 
of the Fifteenth Massachusetts to advance upon the 
enemy alone. It was like an electric impulse. It 
thrilled the entire line. Men forgot that they were on 
the defensive ; and, without an order from a command- 
ing officer, the line, as if bent on one common purpose, 
surged ahead. Thousands of bayonets flashed in the 
setting sun. Then came a wild hurrah, and the mass 
of Rebels melted away over the plain. — C. C. Coffin. 

custer's cavalry charge. 

To repel their advance I ordered the Fifth Cavalry 
to a more advanced position, with instructions to main- 
tain their ground at all hazards. Colonel Alger, com- 
manding the Fifth, assisted by Majors Trowbridge and 
Ferry of the same regiment, made such admirable dis- 
position of their men behind fences and other defences, 
as enabled them to successfully repel the repeated 
advance of a greatly superior force. I attributed their 
success in a great measure to the fact that this regiment 
is armed with the Spencer repeating rifle, which, in the 
hands of brave, determined men, like those composing 
the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, is, in my estimation, the 
most effective fire-arm that our cavalry can adopt. 
Colonel Alger held his ground until his men had ex- 
hausted their ammunition, when he was compelled to 
fall back on the main bod}'. The beginning of this 
movement was the signal for the enemy to charge, 
which they did, with two regiments, mounted and dis- 



138 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



mounted. I at once ordered the Seventh Michigan 
Cavalry, Colonel Mann, to charge the advancing column 
of the enemy. The ground over which we had to pass 
was very unfavorable for the manoeuvring of cavalry, 
but despite all obstacles this regiment advanced "boldly 
to the assault, which was executed in splendid style, 
the enemy being driven from field to field until our 
advance reached a high and unbroken fence, behind 
which the enemy were strongly posted. Nothing 
daunted, Colonel Mann, followed by the main body of 
his regiment, bravely rode up to the fence and dis- 
charged their revolvers in the very face of the foe. Xo 
troops could have maintained this position : the Seventh 
was. therefore, compelled to retire, followed by twice 
the number of the enemy. By this time Colonel Alger 
of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry had succeeded in mount- 
ing a considerable portion of his regiment, and gallantly 
advanced to the assistance of the Seventh, whose fur- 
ther pursuit by the enemy he checked. At the same 
time an entire brigade of the enemy's cavalry, consist- 
ing of four regiments, appeared just over the crest in 
our front. They were formed in column of regiments. 
To meet this overwhelming force I had but one avail- 
able regiment, the First Michigan Cavalry and the fire 
of Battery M. Second Regular Artillery. I at once 
ordered the First to charge, but learned at the same 
moment that similar orders had been given by Brigadier- 
General Gregg. As before stated, the First was formed 
in column of battalions. Upon receiving the orders to 
charge, Colonel Town, placing himself at the head of 
his command, ordered the 4 4 trot" and sabres to be 
drawn. In this manner this gallant body of men ad- 
vanced to the attack of a force outnumbering them five 
to one. In addition to this numerical superiority the 
enemy had the advantage of position, and were exultant 
over the repulse of the Seventh Michigan Cavalry. All 
these facts considered would seem to render success on 
the part of the First impossible. Not so, however.^ 
Arriving within a few yards of the enemy's column, the 



GETTYSBURG. 



139 



charge was ordered, and, with a 3-ell that spread terror 
before them, the First Michigan Cavalry, led by Colonel 
Town, rode upon the front rank of the enemy, sabring 
all who Game within reach. For a moment, but only a 
moment, that long heavy column stood its ground, then, 
unable to withstand the impetuosity of our attack, it 
gave way into a disorderly rout, leaving vast numbers 
of their dead and wounded in our possession, while the 
First, being masters of the field, had the proud satisfac- 
tion of seeing the much vaunted 44 Chivalry" led by 
their favorite commander, seek safety in headlong flight. 
I cannot find language to express my high appreciation 
of the gallantry and daring displayed by the officers 
and men of the First Michigan Cavalry. They ad- 
vanced to the charge of a vastly superior force with as 
much order and precision as if going upon parade ; and 
I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more 
brilliant or successful charge of cavalry than the one 
just recounted. — Maj.- Gen. Custer. 

THE REPULSE. 

As soon as the bullets began to whistle, a general 
said to the orderly who carried the color of his brigade, 
which he supposed would attract notice and draw the 
fire of the enemy upon him, 4 'Take away that flag, go 
to the rear with that flag ! " and the person who obeyed 
this direction remarked in stating it, 44 Faith, an' I was 
as willin' to run with it to the rear as he was to have 
me." .... 

At sunset, at a critical time, in obedience to a 
universal cry among the soldiers, 44 Charge on them ! " 
" Take our old ground !" the fragments of the brigade, 
with the colors of five regiments unfurled within the 
distance of one hundred feet, in the absence of its gen- 
eral, and against the orders of General Humphreys, the 
division commander, who vainly shouted, 44 Halt ! halt ! 
stop those men ! " pursued the enemy half a mile, cap- 
tured several prisoners, retook cannon that had been 



140 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



left upon the field, and assisted to achieve a conclusive 
success 

The Rebels told me that their generals and officers 
said that there was nothing in their front except a force 
of militia which would run away at the first voile}- ; but 
this falsehood was detected as soon as the fighting com- 
menced. The}- deceived others, who implored the Na- 
tional troops not to kill them. I observed one wounded 
youth, about sixteen years of age, who was crying, and 
stated as the cause of his grief that "General Lee 
always put the Fifth Florida in the front ! " . . . . 

One of the staff arrived and stated that a brigadier- 
general had decided to establish a new line of battle 
about a mile in the rear, but was unable to find his 
regiments, and delivered an order for the ranks to 
return at once to that point. The men were very indig- 
nant, because they wished to enjoy that rest which is so 
precious to every soldier, — a sleep upon the field which 
they had won by their bravery ; and an officer said, 
"Tell the general that if he will come to the front he 
will find his commands with their colors, and, if he was 

not such a d d coward, he would be here with 

them." .... 

The Rebels were dispirited by the repulses upon the 
2d and 3d; called the plain a 44 slaughter-pen " ; de- 
clared that further fighting was useless ; and some, 
who considered Jackson their " very heart of hope," 
mournfully said, 44 We have not got Stonewall with us 
now." They related the following incident regarding 
Amistead, who commanded a brigade, and was killed 
in the unsuccessful charge. He skulked behind the 
trunk of a poplar-tree, in one of the battles before 
Richmond ; and, as they advanced upon the open plain, 
several men who disliked him shouted, 44 There are no 
poplar-trees to get behind now " ; and he replied to 
their taunts by saying, 44 Before this charge is ended, 
you will wish that there were some poplar- trees here." — 
Capt. Blake, \ \th Mass. 



GETTYSBURG. 



141 



GENERAL LEE AFTER THE BATTLE. 

He was engaged in rallying and encouraging the 
broken troops, and was riding about, a little in front of 
the wood, quite alone, — the whole of his staff being 
engaged in a similar manner, further to the rear. His 
face, which is always placid and cheerful, did not show 
signs of the slightest disappointment, care, or annoy- 
ance ; and he was addressing to every soldier he met 
a few words of encouragement, such as, " All this will 
come right in the end ; we '11 talk it over afterwards ; 
but, in the mean time, all good men must rally. We 
want all good and true men just now," &c. He spoke 
to all the wounded that passed him, and the slightly 
wounded he exhorted to bind up their hurts and take 
up a musket in this emergency. Yery few failed to 
answer his appeal, and I saw many badly wounded men 
take off their hats and cheer him. 

I saw General Willcox (an officer who wears a short 
round jacket and a battered straw hat) come up to him, 
and explain, almost crying, the state of his brigade. 
General Lee immediately shook hands with him, and 
said, cheerfully, " Never mind, General, all this has 
been my fault, — it is /that have lost this fight, and you 
must help me out of it in the best way you can." 

In this manner I saw General Lee encourage and re- 
animate his somewhat dispirited troops, and magnani- 
mously take upon his own shoulders the whole weight 
of the repulse. — An English Officer. 

"WORK OF THE SANITARY COMMISSION. 

4 ' Have you friends in the army, madam ? " a Rebel 
soldier, tying on the floor of the car, said to me as I 

gave him some milk. u Yes, my brother is on 's 

staff." "I thought so, ma'am. You can always tell; 
when people are good to soldiers, they are sure to have 
friends in the army." " We are Rebels, you know, 



112 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



ma'am," another said; "do you treat Rebels sot"_ 
It was strange to see the good brotherly feeling come 
over the soldiers, our own and the Rebels, when,, side 
by side, they lay in our tents, " Hallo, boys ! this is 
the pleasantest way to meet, isn't it? We are better 
friends when we are as close as this, than a little far- 
ther off." And then they would go over the battles 
together: " we were here," and i; you were there," in 

the friendliest way 

Few good things can be said of the Gettysburg farm- 
ers, and I only use Scripture language in calling them 
"evil beasts." One of this kind came creeping into our 
camp three weeks after the battle. He lived five miles 
only from the town, and had u never seen a Rebel." 
He heard we had some of .them, and came down to see 
them. ;i Boys, here 's a man who never saw a Rebel 
in his life., and wants to look at you " ; and then he 
stood with his mouth wide open, and there they lay in 
rows, laughing at him, stupid old Dutchman. 4fc And 

why have n't you seen a Rebel? " Mrs. said ; "why 

did n't you take your gun and help to drive them out of 
your town ? " — "A feller might 'er got hit ! " — which 
reply was quite too much for the Rebels ; they roared 
with laughter at him, up and down the tents. — Miss 
Woolsey. 

GENERAL MEADE'S OFFICIAL REPORT. 

Major-General Reynolds immediately moved around 
the town of Gettysburg, and advanced on the Cash- 
town road, and without a moment's hesitation deployed 
his advance division and attacked the enemy, at the 
same time sending orders for the Eleventh Corps 
(General Howard) to advance as promptly as possible. 
Soon after making his dispositions for the attack, Major- 
General Reynolds fell mortally wounded, the command 
of the First Corps devolving on Major-General Double- 
day, and the command of the field on Major-General 
Howard, who arrived about this time (11.30 a.m.), 



GETTYSBURG. 



143 



with the Eleventh Corps, then commanded by Major- 
General Schurz. Major-General Howard pushed for- 
ward two divisions of the Eleventh Corps to support 
the First Corps, now warmly engaged with the enemy 
on the ridge to the north of the town, and posted his 
Third Division, with three batteries of artillery ."on Cem- 
etery Ridge, on the south side of the town. Up to this 
time the battle had been with the forces of the enemy 
debouching from the mountains on the Cashtown Eoad, 
known to be Hill's corps. In the early part of the 
action, success was on our side, — Wadsworth's division 
of the First Corps having driven the enemy back some 
distance, and capturing numerous prisoners, among 
them, General Archer, of the Confederate army. 

The arrival of reinforcements to the enemy on the 
Cashtown Eoad, and the junction with E well's corps, 
coming on the York and Harrisburg roads, which 
occurred between one and two o'clock p. m., enabled 
the enemy to bring vastly superior forces against both 
the First and Eleventh Corps, outflanking our line of 
battle and pressing it so severely that, at about four 
p. M., Major-General Howard deemed it prudent to 
withdraw these two corps to Cemetery Ridge, on the 
south side of the town, which operation was successfully 
accomplished, — not, however, without considerable loss 
in prisoners, arising from the confusion incident to 
portions of both corps passing through the town, and 
the men getting confused m the streets. 

About the time of the withdrawal, Major-General 
Hancock arrived, whom I had despatched to represent 
me on the field on hearing of the death of General Re}'- 
nolds. In conjunction with Major-General Howard, 
General Hancock proceeded to post troops on Cemetery 
Ridge, and to repel an attack that the enemy* made on 
our right flank. This attack was not, however, very 
vigorous. The enemy, seeing the strength of the posi- 
tion occupied, seemed to be satisfied with the success 
he had accomplished, desisting from any further attack 
this day. 



IU STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



About seven p.m.. Major-Generals Slocum and Sic- 
kles, with the Twelfth Corps and part of the Third, 
reached the ground and took post on the right and left 
of the troops previously posted. 

Being satisfied, from reports received from the field, 
that it was the intention of the enemy to support, with 
his whole army, the attack already made, and reports 
from Major-Generals Hancock and Howard on the 
character of the position being favorable. I determined 
to give battle at this point, and early in the evening of 
the 1st, issued orders to all corps to concentrate at 
Gettysburg, directing all trains to be sent to the rear 
at Westminster. 

At eleven p. if. of the 1st, I broke up my head-quar- 
ters, which, till then, had been at Taneytown, and 
proceeded to the field, arriving there at one a. m. of 
the 2d. So soon as it was light I proceeded to in- 
spect the position occupied, and to make arrangements 
for posting several corps as they should reach the 
ground. By seven a. m. the Second and Fifth Corps, 
with the rest of the Third, had reached the ground, and 
were posted as follows. The Eleventh Corps retained 
its position on the cemeteiy side, just opposite to the 
town. The First Corps was posted on the right of the 
Eleventh, on an elevated knoll, connecting with a ridge 
extending to the south and east, on which the Second 
Corps was placed. The right of the Twelfth Corps 
rested on a small stream at a point where it crossed the 
Baltimore Pike, and which formed on the right flank of 
the Twelfth something of an obstacle. Cemetery Ridge 
extended in a westerly and southerly direction, gradu- 
ally diminishing in elevation till it came to a very prom- 
inent ridge, called Round Top, running east and west. 
The Second and Third Corps were directed to occupy 
the continuation of Cemetery Ridge, on the left of the 
Eleventh Corps. The Fifth Corps, pending the arrival 
of the Sixth, was held in reserve. While these disposi- 
tions were being made, the enemy was massing his 
troops on the exterior ridge, distant from the line 
occupied by us from a mile to a mile and a half. 



GETTYSBURG. 



145 



At two p. m. the Sixth Corps arrived, after a march . 
of thirty-two miles, accomplished from nine a. m. the day 
previous. On its arrival being reported, I immediately 
directed the Fifth Corps to move over to our extreme 
left, and the Sixth to occupy its place as a reserve for 
the right 

Another assault was, however,, made, about eight 
p. m. , on the Eleventh Corps, from the left of Jhetown, 
which was repulsed with the assistance of the troops 
from the Second and First Corps. During the heavy 
assault upon our extreme left, portions of the Twelfth 
Corps were sent as reinforcements. During their ab- 
sence, the line on the extreme right w r as held by a very 
much reduced force. This was taken advantage of by 
the enem}^, who, during the absence of Geary's division 
of the Twelfth Corps, advanced and occupied part of 
the line. On the morning of the 3d, General Gear}', 
having returned during the night, was attacked at early 
dawn by the enem} T , but succeeded in driving him 
back, and occupying his former position. A spirited 
contest was maintained all the morning along this 
part of the line. General Geary, reinforced by Whea- 
ton's brigade, Sixth Corps, maintained his position, 
inflicting very severe losses .on the enenry. With 
this exception, the quiet of the lines remained un- 
disturbed till one p. m. on the 3d, when the enemy 
opened from over one hundred and twenty-five guns, 
playing upon our centre and left. This cannonade 
continued for over two hours, w T hen, our guns failing 
to make any reply, the enenr^ ceased firing, and soon 
his masses of infantry became visible, forming for 
an assault on our left and left centre. The assault 
was made with great firmness, being directed prin- 
cipal^ against the point occupied by the Second Corps, 
and was repelled with equal firmness b}' the troops of 
that corps, supported by Doubleday's division and 
Stannard's brigade of the First Corps. 

During the assault, both Major-General Hancock, 
commanding the left centre, and Brigadier-General 
10 



146 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Gibbon, commanding the Second Corps, were severely 
wounded. 

This terminated the battle, the enemy retiring to 
his lines leaving the field strewed with his dead and 
wounded, and numbers of prisoners fell into our hands. 

The result of the campaign may be briefly stated in 
the defeat of the enemy at Gettysburg, his compulsory 
evacuation of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and his 
withdrawal from the upper valley of the Shenandoah ; 
and in the capture of three guns, forty-one standards, 
and 13.621 prisoners. 24,978 small arms were col- 
lected on the battle-field. Our own losses were very 
severe, amounting, as will be seen by the accompany- 
ing return, to 2.834 killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 
missing, — in all, 23,186. 

GENERAL LEE'S OFFICIAL REPORT. 

The preparations for attack were not completed until 
the afternoon of the 2d. 

The enemy held a high and commanding ridge, along 
which he had massed a large amount of artillery. 
General Ewell occupied the left of our line. General 
Hill the centre, and General Longstreet the right. In 
front of General Longstreet the enemy held a position, 
from which, if he could be driven, it was thought that 
our army could be used to advantage in assailing the 
more elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to 
reach the crest of the ridge. That officer was directed 
to endeavor to carry this position, while General Ewell 
attacked directly the high ground on the enemy's right, 
which had already been partially fortified. General 
Hill was instructed to threaten the centre of the Fed- 
eral line, in order to prevent reinforcements being sent 
to either wing, and to avail himself of an}' opportu- 
nity that might present itself to attack. 

After a severe straggle, Longstreet succeeded in get- 
ting possession of and holding the desired ground. 
Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which 



GETTYSBURG. 



147 



he assailed, and the result was such as to lead to the 
belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the 
enenry. The battle ceased at dark. 

These partial successes determined me to continue 
the assault next day. Pickett, with three of his bri- 
gades, joined Longstreet the following morning, and 
our batteries were moved forward to the position gained 
by him the day before. 

The general plan of attack was unchauged, except 
that one division and two brigades of Hill's corps were 
ordered to support Longstreet. 

The enemy, in the mean time, had strengthened his 
line with earth-works. The morning was occupied in 
necessary preparations, and the battle recommenced 
in the afternoon of the 3d, and raged with great 
violence until sunset. Our troops succeeded in en- 
tering the advanced works of the enemy, and getting 
possession of some of his batteries ; but our artillery 
having nearly expended its ammunition, the attacking 
columns became exposed to the heavy fire of the nu- 
merous batteries near the summit of .the ridge, and, 
after a most determined and gallant struggle, were 
compelled to relinquish their advantage, and fall back 
to their original position, with severe loss. 

The conduct of the troops was all that I could desire 
or expect, and the}' deserved success so far as it can be 
deserved b}' heroic valor and fortitude. More may 
have been required of them than they were able to per- 
form, but my admiration of their noble qualities, and 
confidence in their ability to cope successfully with the 
enemy, has suffered no abatement from the issue of this 
protracted and sanguinary conflict. 

Owing to the strength of the enemy's position and the 
reduction of our ammunition, a renewal of the engage- 
ment could not be hazarded, and the difficulty of pro- 
curing supplies rendered it impossible to continue longer 
where we were. Such of the wounded as were in con- 
dition to be removed, and part of the arms collected on 
the field, were ordered to Williamsport. The army re- 



148 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



mained at Gettysburg during the 4th, and at night be- 
gan to retire by the road to Fairfield, cariying with it 
about four thousand prisoners. Nearly two thousand 
had previously been paroled, but the enemy's numer- 
ous wounded, that had fallen into our hands after the 
first and second da} T 's engagements, were left behind. 

Little progress was made that night, owing to a 
severe storm, which greatly embarrassed our move- 
ments. The rear of the column did not leave its posi- 
tion near Gett}~sburg until after daylight on the 5th. 

The march was continued during that &&y without 
interruption by the enemy, except an unimportant 
demonstration upon our rear in the afternoon, when 
near Fairfield, which was easily checked. Part of our 
train moved by the road through Fairfield, and the rest 
b} r the way of Cashtown, guarded by General Imboden. 
In passing through the mountains, in advance of the 
column, the great length of the trains exposed them to 
attack b}' the enemy's cavahy, which captured a num- 
ber of wagons and ambulances ; but they succeeded in 
reaching Williamsport without serious loss. 

They were attacked at that place on the 6th by the 
enemy's cavahy, which was gallantly repulsed by Gen- 
eral Imboden. The attacking force was subsequently 
encountered and driven off by General Stuart, and pur- 
sued for several miles in the direction of Boonesboro. 
The army, after an arduous march, rendered more diffi- 
cult bj T the rains, reached Hagerstown on the afternoon 
of the 6th and morning of the 7th of July. 

The Potomac was found to be so much swollen by 
the rains that had fallen almost incessantly since our 
entrance into Marj'land as to be unfordable. Our com- 
munications with the south side were thus interrupted, 
and it was difficult to procure either ammunition or 
subsistence, the latter difficulty being enhanced by the 
high waters impeding the working of neighboring mills. 
The trains with the wounded and prisoners were com- 
pelled to await at Williamsport the subsiding of the 
river and the construction of boats, as the pontoon 



GETTYSBURG. 



149 



bridge left at Falling Waters had been partially de- 
stroyed. The enemy had not yet made his appearance ; 
but as he was in condition to obtain large reinforce- 
ments, and our situation, for the reasons above men- 
tioned, was becoming daily more embarrassing, it was 
deemed advisable to recross the river. Part of the pon- 
toon bridge was recovered, and new boats built, so 
that by the 13th a good bridge was thrown over the 
river at Falling Waters. 

The enemy in force reached our front on the 12th. 
A position had been previously selected to cover the 
Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters, and an 
attack was awaited during that and the succeeding day. 
This did not take place, though the two armies were in 
close proximity, the enemy being occupied in fortifying 
his own lines. Our preparations being completed, and 
the river, though still deep, being pronounced fordable, 
the army commenced to withdraw to the south side on 
the night of the 13th. 

E well's corps forded the river at Williamsport, those 
of Longstreet and Hill crossed upon the bridge. Owing 
to the condition of the roads the troops did not reach 
the bridge until after daylight of the 14th, and the 
crossing was not completed till one p. m., when the 
bridge was removed. The enemy offered no serious 
interruption, and the movement was attended with no 
loss of material except a few disabled wagons and two 
pieces of artille^, which the horses were unable to 
move through the deep mud. Before fresh horses 
could be sent back for them, the rear of the column had 
passed. 

During the slow and tedious march to the bridge, in 
the midst of a violent storm of rain, some of the men 
lay down by the way to rest. Officers sent back for 
them failed to find many in the obscurity of the night, 
and these, with some stragglers, fell into the hands of 
the enemy. 



CHAPTER IX. 



CHICK AM AUG A AND CHATTANOOGA. 
HATTANOOGA, in Eastern Tennessee, was 



another of the points which were very im- 
portant to each party in the war. It is the centre 
of a great system of railroads, which unite the 
Eastern and Western regions of the South. The 
armies in Virginia and the East received by these 
roads their supplies of grain and beef from Ala- 
bama, Florida, and Georgia. The inhabitants of 
the neighborhood were loyal to the Union ; and on 
this account alone the National government would 
have been glad to take and hold Chattanooga, for 
their encouragement. After the fall of Vicksburg, 
Chattanooga was the most important point except- 
ing Richmond for the National army to seize. 

General Rosecrans took possession of it accord- 
ingly, on the 9th of September, 1863, having out- 
geheralled the Southern General Bragg, who was 
intrusted with holding it. But Bragg had no in- 
tention of leaving his enemy in possession, and, 
having been largely reinforced, on the 19th of 
September he attacked the widely extended army 




CH1CKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 151 



of Rosecrans, " demolished his right wing," and 
pierced his centre. But the persistency of General 
Thomas — who always distinguished himself by 
holding on — foiled Bragg in his principal object, 
and, though Rosecrans lost sixteen thousand men 
and thirty-six cannon in this battle, which is 
known as the battle of Chickamauga, Chattanooga 
was, for the moment, saved. Still, with his army 
so terribly reduced, Rosecrans could do little more 
than hold it. General Bragg considered its reduc- 
tion a mere question of time. 1 He held all the 
high land on the south side of the city, and as 
the Tennessee River, not easily passed, shut it in 
on the north and west, the National army was 
virtually besieged in the city. The supply trains 
from Bridgeport, tw enty-five miles distant by road, 
could not cross the mountains after the fall rains 
set in ; and- General Rosecrans was obliged to put 
his whole command on half-rations. Under these 
circumstances General Rosecrans was removed, 
and General Grant appointed in his place ; and, to 
relieve Chattanooga, as soon as he could gather 
strength sufficient, he fought the battle known as 
" the battle of Chattanooga." 

Of this battle General Badeau says : " It was the 
grandest one fought west of the Alleghanies. It 
covered an extent of thirteen miles, and Grant 
had over sixty thousand men engaged At 

1 General Bragg says in an official report : " We held him at 
our mercy, and his destruction was only a question of time." 



152 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Vicksburg it had been the strategy, at Shiloh 
the hard righting, but at Chattanooga it was the 
manoeuvring in the presence of the enemy that 
brought about the result ; aided, of course, in the 
highest possible degree, by the gallantry of the 
soldiers, without which the greatest of generals is 
in fact unarmed. Few battles have ever been 
won so strictly according to the plan laid down ; 
certainly no battle, during the war of the Rebel- 
lion, was carried out so completely according to 
the programme. Grant's instructions in advance 
would almost serve as a history of the contest. 
Changes were indeed made in the orders ; but 
before the battle began, the original plan was 
resumed."' 

That plan was simple, and any boy who will fix 
this in his mind, or set it down on an imaginary 
map. on a bit of paper, will understand well enough 
the more important places alluded to in the narra- 
tives of details which follow. Remember that 
Lookout Mountain is a high mountain which com- 
mands the view of the whole scene. The fighting 
at Missionary Ridge was thirteen miles northeast 
of Lookout Mountain. Missionary Ridge runs 
so nth from where it touches the Tennessee, and 
along its summit ran. for six miles, the Rebel in- 
trenchments. shutting in Chattanooga from the 
east ; then they turned westward and ran for four 
miles across the valley of Chattanooga Creek, to 
Lookout Mountain, which was held by a strong 



CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 153 



force to secure his left flank. Bragg had just 
weakened himself by sending Longstreet on an 
expedition into Eastern Tennessee with fifteen 
thousand men, so that his effective force was only 
forty-five thousand, scattered along his ten miles 
of intrenchments. 

Grant had thirty thousand men under Thomas 
in Chattanooga, Hooker with ten thousand west of 
Lookout Mountain on the south side of the Ten- 
nessee, and Sherman on the north side, behind the 
hills, with twenty thousand. 

This is his plan in his own words : " The general 
plan is for Sherman .... to effect a crossing of 
the Tennessee River, just below the mouth of the 
Chickamauga ; his crossing to be protected by ar- 
tillery from the heights on the north bank of the 
river, and to secure the heights from the north- 
ern extremity to about the railroad tunnel, before 
the enemy can concentrate against him. You" 

(Thomas) "will co-operate with Sherman ' 

Further movements will then depend on those of 
the enemy." 

But on the 23d of November it seemed as if the 
knot was to be cut in an entirely different way. 
A Rebel soldier, who had seen the departure from 
the Rebel camp of a corps sent to reinforce Long- 
street, deserted, and brought the news into the 
Union camp that Bragg was evacuating his posi- 
tion. Grant, unwilling to allow Bragg to make an 
orderly retreat, and anxious to learn the truth, 



154 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



ordered an advance to feel the Rebels' centre, al- 
though Sherman had not yet reached his position 
behind Chattanooga. 'Sherman had been for more 
than a month marching up from Vicksburg. 

Accordingly at noon of the 23d two corps of 
Thomas's command formed in line of battle and 
advanced quickly on the Rebel line. The enemy 
were taken entirely by surprise, and driven a mile 
and a half to their second line of defences. Thomas 
immediately strengthened his position by earth- 
works, and on the morning of the 24th he had 
several guns in position on his new line. Here he 
waited all the next day. 

While he was fortifying himself, Sherman was 
floating down pontoons from a creek above, and 
building a bridge across the Tennessee north of the 
enemy's position. The next morning, under cover 
of the mist, he began ferrying his troops across, 
and continued his work on the bridge, so that at 
one of the 24th all his men were on the south side 
of the river, and their line of communication secure. 
As soon as his last men were across, he advanced 
toward the south till he came to the main line of 
the enemy, who offered vigorous resistance. Sher- 
man's immediate object was to get possession of the 
railroad from Chattanooga east, but the enemy were 
strongly fortified and kept him back till night. 

Hooker on the west also made an attack on the 
24th, and in the afternoon fought his " Battle among 
the Clouds." He had to build a bridge over the 



CH1CKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 155 



Lookout Creek before advancing, but, once across, 
he drove the enemy from their superior position, 
and at four had gained a point which commanded 
the enemy's works ; for two hour's he had been 
fighting in a cloud-mist, only more darkened by 
the smoke of the battle. 

In the night the enemy retreated from Lookout 
Mountain across the Chattanooga Creek, burning 
the bridges as they went. At the same time they 
evacuated some of the ground they had held so 
well in front of Sherman, and retreated to still 
stronger defences. 

Next morning, the morning of the 25th, Sherman 
advanced over the ground given by the Rebels and 
attacked them again and again. So hard he struck 
that Bragg had again and again to reinforce his 
men in this position, which they must keep. Di- 
vision after division was sent to the right, and the 
centre and left weakened by so much. 

At last the time had come, and Grant gave the 
word to Thomas in the centre. His army, the army 
which had been defeated at Chickamauga, sprang 
forward on the double-quick. Every man knew 
that here was the moment to avenge that defeat. 
The defence of the Rebels was nothing to them, 
the Rebels were less ; on they went, with cheers 
and shouts, over line after line of breastworks, over 
line after line of soldiers, till the last pits on the 
top of the ridge were gained, the enemy's centre 
was crushed, the battle was won. 



156 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Thomas turned some of his men to the left, to 
rout the Rebels still holding out against Sherman ; 
with others he pursued the retreat — the flight — 
of the enemy. 

" For Chickamauga," said Uncle Fritz, " we can- 
not do much with the reports of our side : it is sad 
work. But you will find a book the Rebel govern- 
ment published with all their reports of that battle ; 
perhaps you can pick out something interesting out 
of that.'' 

So Horace, who knew enough not to expect pictu- 
resqueness from the report of any one higher than 
a brigadier, picked out these three bits. 

A REBEL BRIGADE. 

The attack was soon made by the whole line. It 
was stubbornly resisted from a very strong position just 
behind the crest of the hill. A portion of two of my 
regiments gained the crest of the hill and planted colors 
there, but the position was a hot one, and some break- 
ing to the rear on the left caused the whole to give way 
for a time. The troops were rallied on the slope of the 
hill, lines reformed, and all in readiness to resume the 
attack, when the enemy advanced his line immediately 
in my front, clown the hill, with some impetuosity. The 
line was instantly ordered forward to meet this charge, 
and the command quickly responded to. The enemy 
was met by a volley and a charge which did much exe- 
cution, his line broken, and his troops fled in some con- 
fusion ; but as there was no corresponding forward 
movement by the brigades on my right and left, and as 
the hill near the crest was very difficult to ascend, he 
had time either to re-form or to bring up a second line 



CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 157 



before we reached the top of the hill, and another re- 
pulse was the consequence. Troops never rallied more 
promptly, nor with less confusion or clamor. — Brig.- 
Gen. Patton Anderson, 0. S. A. 



DEATH OF GENERAL DESHLER, C. S. A. 

About twelve o'clock our supply of ammunition 
began to give out, and I sent a courier to Brigadier- 
General Deshler to inform him of the fact, and to ask 
where we could get more. A few minutes after, I saw 
him coming towards my right, some forty paces from 
me, when he was struck by a shell in the chest and his 

heart literally torn from his bosom Refusing to 

permit a staff-officer to endanger his life in going to ex- 
amine the cartridge-boxes to see what amount of ammu- 
nition his men had, he cheerfully started himself to brave 
the tempest of death that raged on the crest of the hill. 
He had gone but a little wa}' when he fell, — fell as he 
would wish to fall. . . . — Col. R. Q. Mills, commanding 
Brigade C. S. A. 

A BRAVE REBEL. 

Private McCann was under my own eye. He stood 
upright, cheerful and self-possessed in the very hail of 
deadly missiles, and cheered up his comrades around 
him. After he had expended all his ammunition, he 
gathered up the cartridge-boxes of the dead and wound- 
ed, and distributed them to his comrades. He bore 
himself like a hero through the entire contest, and fell 
mortally wounded by the last volleys of the enemy. I 
promised him during the engagement that I would men- 
tion his good conduct, and, as he was borne dying from 
the field, he turned his boyish face upon me, and, with 
a light and pleasant smile, reminded me of my prom- 
ise. — Col. R. Q. Mills, commanding Brigade C. S. A. 



158 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



But for Chattanooga they had only too much. 
Uncle Fritz only let them read half of what they 
wanted to, and it is to be hoped they halved their 
book-marks wisely. Florence confesses that she 
only left out the shorter extracts. 

shebman's advance to Chattanooga. 

Another bridge was in course of construction at Chat- 
tanooga, under the immediate direction of Quarter- 
master-General Meigs, but at the time all the wagons, 
etc. had to be ferried across by a flying bridge. Men 
were busy and hard at work everywhere inside our 
lines, and boats for another pontoon bridge were being 
rapidly constructed under Brigadier-General W. F. 
Smith, familiarly known as " Baldy Smith." and this 
bridge was destined to be used by my troops, at a point 
of the river about four miles above Chattanooga, just 
below the mouth of the Chickamauga River. General 
Grant explained to me that he had reconnoitred the 
Rebel line from Lookout Mountain up to Chickamauga, 
and he believed that the northern portion of Missionary 
Ridge was not fortified at all : and he wanted me, as 
soon as my troops got up, to lay the new pontoon bridge 
by night, cross over, and attack Bra gg s right flank on 
that part of the ridge abutting on Chickamauga Creek, 
near the tunnel : and he proposed that we should go at 
once to look at the ground. In company with Generals 
Thomas. W. F. Smith. Brannan. and others, we crossed 
by the flying bridge, rode back of the hills some four 
miles, left our horses, and got on a hill overlooking the 
whole ground about the mouth of the Chickamauga 
River, and across to the Missionary Hills near the tun- 
nel. Smith and I crept down behind a fringe of trees 
that lined the river-bank, to the very point selected for 
the new bridge, where we sat for some time, seeing the 
Rebel pickets on the opposite bank, and almost hearing 
their words. 



CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA, 159 



Having seen enough we returned to Chattanooga ; 
and in order to hurry up my command, on which so 
much depended, I started back to Kelley's in hopes to 
catch the steamboat that same evening ; but on my 
arrival the boat had gone. I applied to the command- 
ing officer, got a rough boat, manned by four soldiers, 
and started clown the river by night. I occasionally 
took a turn at the oars to relieve some tired man, and 
about midnight we reached Shell Mound, where General 
Whittaker, of Kentucky, furnished us a new and good 
crew, with which we reached Bridgeport by daylight. 
I started Ewing's division in advance, with orders to 
turn aside towards Trenton, to make the enemy believe 
we were going to turn Bragg' s left by pretty much the 
same road Rosecrans had followed ; but with the other 
three divisions I followed the main road, via the Big 
Trestle at Whitesides, and reached General Hooker's 
head-quarters, just above Wauhatchee, on the 20th ; my 
troops strung all the way back to Bridgeport. It was 
on this occasion that the Fifteenth Corps gained its 
peculiar badge ; as the men were trudging along the 
deeply-cut, muddy road, of a cold, drizzly day, one of 
our Western soldiers left his ranks and joined a party 
of the Twelfth Corps at their camp-fire. They got into 
conversation, the Twelfth Corps men asking what 
troops we were, etc., etc. In turn, our fellow (who 
had never seen a corps-badge, and noticed that every- 
thing was marked with a star) asked if they were all 
brigadier-generals. Of course the} 7 were not, but the 
star was their corps-badge, and every wagon, tent, hat, 
etc. had its star. Then the Twelfth Corps men in- 
quired what corps he belonged to, and he answered, 
"The Fifteenth Corps." 4 4 What is yonv badge?" 
" Why," said he, (and he was an Irishman,) suiting the 
action to the word, " forty rounds in the cartridge-box, 
and twenty in the pocket ! " At that time Blair com- 
manded the corps ; but Logan succeeded soon after, and, 
hearing the story, adopted the cartridge-box and forty 
rounds as the corps-badge. — Gen. Sherman. 



160 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



THE FIRST ATTACK. 

At a given signal, Granger moved forward into the 
plain, in front and on the right of Fort Wood. The fog 
that had lain in the valley all day lifted, and the rays of 
the sun glanced back from twenty thousand bayonets. 
The superb pageant went on. under the eyes of curious 
crowds on Missionary Ridge ; but the troops moved with 
such precision, that the enemy mistook their evolutions 
for a parade. The Rebel pickets leaned on their mus- 
kets, and quietly watched the advance of Thomas's 
battalions. This unmeant deception was heightened by 
the troops remaining nearly half an hour in position, 
and in full view of the Rebel army, before the} T received 
the final order to advance. At last, a dozen shots of 
the National skirmishers scattered the Rebel pickets, 
who fled in haste through a strip of timber, lying be- 
tween the open ground and some secondary eminences, 
on which the first line of rebel rifle-pits was built. 
"Wood followed rapidly, directly towards the front, driv- 
ing not only the Rebel pickets, but their reserves. A 
heavy fire of musketry was poured upon the advancing 
troops as they entered the strip of woods ; but they fell 
rapidly upon the grand guards stationed on the first line 
of Bragg' s rifle-pit, captured about two hundred men, 
and secured themselves in their new positions, before 
the enemy had sufficiently recovered from his surprise 
to attempt to send reinforcements from his main camp 
on the ridge. Sheridan now moved up rapidly on 
Wood's right, and in fifteen minutes the Rebels had 
abandoned their whole advanced line. Nothing re- 
mained to them west of the ridge but the rifle-pit at its 
foot. — Brig.- Gen. Badeau. 

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. 

Simultaneously with these operations the troops on 
the mountain rushed on in their advance, the right pass- 
ing directly under the muzzles of the enemy's guns on 



CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 161 



the summit, climbing over ledges and bowlders, up hill 
and down, furiously driving the enemy from his camp and 
from position after position. This lasted until twelve 
o'clock, when Geary's advance heroically rounded the 
peak of the mountain. Not knowing to what extent 
the enemy might be reinforced, and fearing, from the 
rough character of the field of operations, that our lines 
might be disordered, directions had been given for the 
troops to halt on reaching this high ground ; but, fired 
by success, with a flying panic-stricken force before 
them, the} T pressed impetuously forward. Cobham's 
brigade, occupying the high ground on the right, be- 
tween the enemy's main line of defence on the plateau 
and the palisades, incessantly plied them with fire from 
above and behind, while Freeland's brigade was vigor- 
ously rolling them up on the flank, both being closely 
supported by the brigades of Whitaker and Creighton. 
Our success was uninterrupted and irresistible. Before 
losing the advantages the ground presented us, (the 
enemy had been reinforced meantime,) after having 
secured the prisoners, two of Osterhaus's regiments had 
been sent forward on the Chattanooga road, and the 
balance of his and Cruft's divisions had joined Geary. > 
All the Rebel efforts to resist us only resulted in ren- 
dering our success more thorough. After two or three 
short but sharp conflicts the plateau was cleared. The 
enemy, with his reinforcements, driven from the walls 
and pits, around Craven's house, (the last point at 
which he could make a stand in force,) all broken and 
destroyed, were hurled in great numbers over the rocks 
and precipices into the valley. 

It was now near two o'clock, and our operations were 
arrested by the darkness. The clouds, which had hovered 
over and enveloped the summit of the mountain during 
the morning, and to some extent favored our move- 
ments, gradually settled into the valley and completely 
veiled it from our view. Indeed, from the moment we 
rounded the peak of the mountain, it was only from the 
roar of battle, and the occasional glimpse our comrades 
11 



162 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



in the valley could catch of our lines and standards, 
that they knew of the strife in its progress ; and when, 
from these evidences, our true condition was revealed to 
them, their painful anxiety yielded to transports of 
joy. — Maj.-Gen. Hooker. 

THE ATTACK ON THE LEFT. 

General Jefferson C. Davis's division was ready to 
take the bridge, and I ordered the columns to form in 
order to cany Missionary Hills. The movement had 
been carefully explained to all division commanders, 
and at one p. m. we marched from the river in three 
columns in echelon ; the left, General Morgan L. 
Smith, the column of direction, following substantially 
Chickamauga Creek ; the centre, General John E. 
Smith, in column, doubled on the centre, at one bri- 
gade interval to the right and rear, prepared to deploy 
to the right, on the supposition that we would meet an 
eneuvy in that direction. Each head of column was 
covered by a good line of skirmishers, with supports. 
A light drizzling rain prevailed, and the clouds hung 
low, cloaking our movements from the enemy's tower 
of observation on Lookout Mountain. 1 We soon gained 
the foot-hills ; our skirmishers crept up the face of the 
hills, followed by their supports ; at half past three p. m. 
we had gained, with no loss, the desired point. A bri- 
gade of each division was pushed rapidly to the top of^ 
the hill, and the enenry for the first time seemed to 
realize the movement, but too late, for we were in pos- 
session. He opened with artillery, but General Ewing 
soon got some of Captain Richardson's guns up that 
steep hill, and gave back artillery, and the enemy's 
light skirmishers made one or two ineffectual dashes at 
General Lightburn, who had swept round and got a 
farther hill, which was the real continuation of the 

1 Indeed, the enemy were engaged nearer home on Lookout 
Mountain, as the reader has seen. — Horace. 



CHICK AM A UGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 163 



ridge. From stu (tying all the maps, I had inferred 
that Missionary Ridge was a continuous hill ; but we 
found ourselves on two high points, with a deep de- 
pression between us and the one immediately over the 
tunnel, which was my chief objective point. The 
ground we had gained, however, was so important, 
that I could leave nothing to chance, and ordered it to 
be fortified during the night. One brigade of each 
division was left on the hill, one of General Morgan L. 
Smith's closed the gap to Chickamauga Creek, two of 
General John E. Smith's were drawn back to the base 
in reserve, and General E wing's right was extended 
down into the plain, thus crossing the ridge in a gen- 
eral line, facing southeast. 

The enemy felt our left flank about four p. m., and a 
pretty smart engagement with artillery and muskets 
ensued, when he drew off ; but it cost us dear, for 
General Giles A. Smith was severely wounded, and 
had to go to the rear ; and the command of the brigade 
devolved on Colonel Tupper (One hundred and six- 
teenth Illinois) , who managed it with skill during the 
rest of the operations. At the moment of my crossing 
the bridge, General Howard appeared, having come 
with three regiments from Chattanooga, along the east 
bank of the Tennessee, connecting my new position with 
that of the main army in Chattanooga. He left the three 
regiments attached temporarily to General Ewing's right, 
and returned to his own corps at Chattanooga. As night 
closed in, I ordered General Jefferson C. Davis to keep 
one of his brigades at the bridge, one close up to my 
position, and one intermediate. Thus we passed the 
night, heavy details being kept busy at work on the 
intrenchments on the hill 

The sun had hardly risen before General Corse had 
completed his preparations, and his bugle sounded the 
" Forward!" The Fortieth Illinois, supported by the 
Forty-sixth Ohio, on our right centre, with the Thir- 
tieth Ohio (Colonel Jones), moved down the face of 
our hill, and up that held by the enemy. The line ad- 



164 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



vanced to within about twenty yards of the intrenched 
position, where General Corse found a secondary crest, 
which he gained and held. To this point he called his 
reserves, and asked for reinforcements, which were 
sent ; but the space was narrow, and it was not well 
to crowd the men, as the enemy's artillery and mus- 
ketry fire swept the abroach to his position, giving 
him great advantage. As soon as General Corse had 
made his preparations, he assaulted, and a close, severe 
contest ensued, which lasted more than an hour, gain- 
ing and losing ground, but never the position first 
obtained, from which the enemy in vain attempted to 
drive him. General Morgan L. Smith kept gaining 
ground on the left spurs of Missionary Ridge, and 
Colonel Loomis got abreast of the tunnel and railroad 
embankment on his side, drawing the enenry's fire, 
and to that extent relieving the assaulting party on 
the hill crest. Captain Callender had four of his guns 
on General Ewings hill, and Captain Woods his Napo- 
leon battery on General Lightburn's ; also, two guns of 
Dillon's battery were with Colonel Alexander's brigade. 
All directed their fire as carefully as possible, to clear 
the hill to our front, without endangering our own men. 
The fight raged furiously about ten a. m., when Gen- 
eral Corse received a severe wound, was brought off 
the field, and the command of the brigade and of the 
assault of that key-point devolved on that fine. 3'oung 
gallant officer, Colonel Walcutt, of the Forty-Sixth 
Ohio, who fulfilled his part manfully. He continued 
the contest, pressing forward at all points. Colonel 
Loomis had made good progress to the right, and about 
two p. m. General John E. Smith, judging the battle 
to be most severe on the hill, and being required to 
support General Ewing, ordered up Colonel Raum's 
and General Mathias's brigades across the field to the 
summit that was being fought for. They moved up 
under a heavy fire of cannon and musketry, and joined 
Colonel Walcutt ; but the crest was so narrow that 
they necessarily occupied the west face of the hill. 



CHICK AM AUG A AND CHATTANOOGA. 165 



The enemy, at the time, being massed in great strength 
in the tunnel-gorge, moved a large force under cover 
of the ground and the thick bushes, and suddenly ap- 
peared on the right rear of this command. The sud- 
denness of the attack disconcerted the men, exposed as 
they were in the open field ; they fell back in some dis- 
order to the lower edge of the field, and re-formed. 
These two brigades were in the nature of supports, and 
did not constitute a part of the real attack. The move- 
ment, seen from Chattanooga (five miles off) with spy- 
glasses, gave rise to the report, which even General 
Meigs has repeated, that we were repulsed on the left. 
It was not so. The real attacking columns of General 
Corse, Colonel Loomis, and General Smith were not 
repulsed. They engaged in a close struggle all day, 
persistently, stubbornly, and well. When the two 
reserve brigades of General John E. Smith fell back as 
described, the enemy made a show of pursuit, but were 
in their turn caught in flank by the well-directed fire of 
our brigade on the wooded crest, and hastily sought 
cover behind the hill. 

Thus matters stood about three p. m. The day was 
bright and clear, and the amphitheatre of Chattanooga 
lay in beauty at our feet. I had watched for the attack 
of General Thomas " early in the day" 

Column after column of the enemy was streaming 
toward me ; gun after gun poured its concentric shot on 
us, from every hill and open that gave a view of any 
part of the ground held by us. An occasional shot 
from Fort Wood and Orchard Knoll, and some musketry 
fire and artillery over about Lookout Mountain, was all I 
could detect on our side ; but about three p. m. I noticed 
the white line of musketry fire in front of Orchard Knoll 
extending farther and farther right and left and on. 
We could only hear a faint echo of sound, but enough 
was seen to satisfy me that General Thomas was at last 
moving on the centre. I knew that our attack had 
drawn vast masses of the enemy to our flank, and felt 
sure of the result. Some guns which had been firing 



166 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



on us all day were silent, or were turned in a different 
direction. 

The advancing line of musketry fire from Orchard 
Knoll disappeared to us behind a spur of the hill, and 
could no longer be seen ; and it was not until night 
closed in that I knew that the troops in Chattanooga 
had swept across Missionary Ridge and broken the 
enemy's centre. Of course, the victory was won and 
pursuit was the next step. — Gen. Sherman. 

THE STORMING OP THE RIDGE. 

Twenty minutes to four, and from a battery at which 
the gunners have been waiting with ill-concealed impa- 
tience, the signal-guns agreed upon are fired, — a regu- 
lar salute, — one — two — three — four — five — six ! 

Number six has hardly sounded his brazen note, be- 
fore the inert mass is instinct with life. The skirmish- 
ers of Wood and Sheridan are away, followed by the 
fiery lines. All the forts and batteries bellow their 

harsh thunder over the heads of our men They 

charge the rifle-pits at the foot of the ridge 

They have no orders to go farther than the foot of the 
ridge, but when they see the enemy swarming like bees 
out of the rifle-pits, and flying before them, they do not 
stop for orders. They halt but a moment to re-form, 
and then*, in spite of a terrible storm of soughing shot, 
screaming shell, pattering canister, and whizzing bul- 
lets, they dash forward to storm the height. An aid- 
de-camp follows them, crying out, " Take the ridge, if 
you can " ; but it was an order to sanction what they 
were already doing. 1 

1 "I asked General Sheridan how he accounted for the ease 
with which the first line of rifle-pits was carried. He said that he 
happened to be in advance of his own line as it charged, and, 
looking back, was impressed with the terrible sight presented by 
the mass of approaching bayonets. The men were on a run and 
the line had become almost a crowd, and the Rebels appeared 
unable to resist the effect upon their imagination or their nerves 
of this waving, glittering mass of steel. 



CHICK AM A UGA AND CHATTANOOGA. 167 



The lines ascend the hill in many wedge-forms, 1 the 
advancing colors in the forward angle of each. The 
artillery, from our positions, fires furiously over the 
heads of our men. A gun from Orchard Knoll, sighted 
by General Granger in person, explodes a Rebel caisson 
on the ridge. The enemy, in surprise and confusion, 
fire too high, and do less damage to our men than 
might have been expected. 

It is now evident to the excited beholders that the 
color-bearers are running a race. The men partake of 
the enthusiasm, until all are at a white heat. Each 
regiment strains forward to place its colors first upon 
the rebel battlements. Let all win ! . . . . 

Just as the sun is sinking in the west, the great sea 
of Union soldiers bursts upon the Rebel ridge, and the 
daj~ is ours. To the searcher among military pictu- 
resques, there is no more splendid scene than this in any 
war ; — the wild mountain seenen ; the crests gilded by 
the slanting light ; the ravines and valleys in shadow ; 
the thunder of battle, the shouts of victory, and the 
great sun, seeming to pause for a moment to take in 
the stor}' which he was to tell as he journeyed to the 
^Western lands, and which the whole world was to learn 
and never forget. — Col. Coppee. 

" When they had got a third of the way up, an aid of Granger's 
ordered one of Sheridan's brigades down the hill, in conformity 
with the original plan ; but Sheridan soon came up, and saw that 
the flags were advancing steadily, and that two of his brigades 
were still mounting the hill. He at once ordered back the troops 
which had begun to descend. ' When I saw those flags going 
up/ he said, 1 1 knew we should carry the ridge, and I took the 
responsibility.' " — Brig.- Gen. Coppee. 

1 Compare this with the account of the battle of Preston Pans 
in Waverley : " Both lines were now moving forward, the first 
prepared for instant combat. The clans of which it was com- 
posed formed each a sort of separate phalanx, narrow in front, 
and in depth ten, twelve, or fifteen files, according to the strength 
of the following. The best-armed and best-born, for the words 
were synonymous, were placed in front of each of these irregular 
subdivisions. The others in the rear shouldered forward the 
front, and by their pressure added both physical impulse and 
additional ardor and confidence to those who were first to encoun- 
ter the danger." — Florence. 



CHAPTER X. 



GRANT'S ADVANCE ON RICHMOND. — THE WIL- 
DERNESS. — SHERIDAN'S RIDE. 

"VT 7TTH the spring of 1864 there came the feel- 



* * ing through the whole country that the end 
must come now. I cannot say what this feeling was 
at the South. But I know that General Lee said, 
that after Gettysburg the fall of the Confederacy 
was only a matter of time. At the North there was 
a determination to put the matter through, and that 
thoroughly. Abraham Lincoln, the President, had 
full confidence in General Grant. This confidence 
was shared by Stanton, his Secretary of War, and 
Halleck, who had great power at Washington, as 
director of the army at that centre, either to make 
or ruin generals, as he liked them or disliked them. 
With the accord of everybody who had to be con- 
sulted, Mr. Washburne of Illinois, the same who 
afterwards distinguished himself in France, intro- 
duced a bill in Congress reviving the office of 
Lieutenant-General. This office had existed only 
twice in the history of the country. It was cre- 
ated for Washington in 1798, a little before he 
died, that he might take the oversight of the 




THE WILDERNESS. 



169 



impending war with France and Spain. As a post 
of honor, it had been revived for General Scott 
in his last days. It was now revived for a third 
time, both for honor and for efficiency, that the 
whole gripe of affairs might be in one hand, and 
that, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, one will 
might direct all the effort to crush the enemy. 

Napoleon the Great once said that there was 
only one thing worse than a bad general, and that 
this was " two good generals." 

You see the value and the humor of the state- 
ment. But it was not known, or it was not acted 
upon, at the beginning of this war. There was a 
" Department of the Potomac," and a " Depart- 
ment of the Shenandoah," and a " Department of 
West Virginia," and a " Department of the Ohio," 
and a "Department of the Mississippi," each with 
a general almost independent, and so on without 
end. Of course, as one says after all this was 
over, there was endless misunderstanding ; and 
even where the mutual understanding was cordial, 
there was no end of lost time and opportunity, 
because in war two heads are worse than one. 

All this was to be ended now. The moment 
the new law passed General Grant was appointed 
Lieutenant-General. He was the one man of 
importance who had not been consulted regarding 
the matter. 

In one of his vivid conversational epigrams at 
this time, General Butler described the campaign 



170 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



before the army thus : " We go at the heart now. 
If you cut out a man's heart, his fingers and toes 
do not live long/' It had early been General 
Grant's policy to seek the armies of the enemy 
and beat them. In such a war he considered the 
capture of one city or another as of less impor- 
tance than the end of war itself by the breaking 
up of an organized army. 

The country received the news of his appoint- 
ment with enthusiasm. Every one felt that the 
end had now come. 

His own narrative of the year which followed is 
one of the best pieces of history which has been 
written in the last fifty years, and stands a better 
chance of being read in America in the year 2500 
than any other bit of the history of our time. He 
became Lieutenant-General on the 2d of March, 
1864. General Lee in person surrendered to him 
at Appomattox on the 9th of April, 1865. The year 
between divides itself into the campaign of the 
Wilderness, so called ; the siege of Richmond and 
Petersburg; and the pursuit of the broken army. 
Of the Wilderness campaign General Grant's own 
story is short and clear. 

By u the Wilderness" is meant a region, mostly 
of forest, extending through Northeastern Vir- 
ginia, from the Pamunky River to the Rappahan- 
nock. It was perhaps never before the fortune of 
the capital of a nation to be defended from in- 
vaders by the forests which careless agriculture, 



THE WILDERNESS. 



171 



penury, and laziness had permitted to grow up 
within a hundred miles of the seat of government. 
But the blight of slavery was ruining Virginia first 
of all. Such is the divine law of compensation. 
The lands which had been corn-lands and tobacco- 
lands were now covered by the forest growth, and 
you have no epigram which better describes the 
Southern "Confederacy" than this fact of history, 
which tells you that its metropolis was guarded by 
a " Wilderness." 

GENERAL GRAXT's NARRATIVE. — THE BEGINNING. 

The movement of the army of the Potomac com- 
.mencecl early on the morning of the 4th of Ma}', 1864, 
under the immediate direction and orders of Major- 
General Meade, pursuant to instructions. Before 
night the whole army was across the Rapiclan, (the 
Fifth and Sixth Corps crossing at Germania Ford, and 
the Second in advance,) with the greater part of its 
trains, numbering about four thousand wagons, meet- 
ing with but slight opposition. The average distance 
travelled by the troops that day was about twelve 
miles. This I regarded as a great success, and it re- 
moved from my mind the most serious apprehensions I 
had entertained, that of crossing the river in the face of 
an active, large, well-appointed and ably-commanded 
army, and how so large a train was to be carried 
through a hostile country and protected. Early on the 
5th, the advance corps (the Fifth, Major-Gen. G. K. 
Warren commanding) met and engaged the enemy 
outside his intrenchments near Mine Run. The battle 
raged furiously all day, the whole army being brought 
into the fight as fast as the corps could be got upon the 
field, which, considering the density of the forest and 
narrowness of the roads, was done with commendable 
promptness. 



172 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



General Burnside, with the Ninth Corps, was, at the 
time the Arm}' of the Potomac moved, left with the 
bulk of his corps at the crossing of the Rappahannock 
River and Alexandria Railroad, holding the road back 
to Bull Run, with instructions not to move until he 
received notice that a crossing of the Rapid an was 
secured, but to move promptly as soon as such notice 
was received. This crossing he was apprised of on the 
afternoon of the 4th. By six o'clock of the morning 
of the 6th he was leading his corps into action near the 
"Wilderness Tavern, some of his troops having marched 
a distance of over thirty miles, crossing both the Rap- 
pahannock and Rapidan Rivers. Considering that a 
large proportion, probably two thirds, of his command 
was composed of new troops, unaccustomed to marches 
and carrying the accoutrements of a soldier, this was a 
remarkable inarch. 

THE SECOND AND THIRD DAYS. 

The battle of the Wilderness was renewed by us at 
five o'clock on the morning of the 6th, and continued 
with unabated fury until darkness set in, each army 
holding substantially the same position that they had 
on the evening of the 5th. After dark the enemy made 
a feeble attempt to turn our right flank, capturing 
several hundred prisoners and creating considerable 
confusion. But the promptness of General Sedgwick, 
who was personally present and commanded that part 
of our line, soon re-formed it and restored order. On 
the morning of the 7th, reeonnoissances showed that 
the enemy had fallen behind his intrenched lines, with 
pickets to the front, covering a part of the battle-field. 
From this it was evident to my mind that the two days' 
fighting had satisfied him of his inabilit}' to further 
maintain the contest in the open field, notwithstanding 
his advantage of position, and that he would await an 
attack behind his works. I therefore determined to 
push on and put my whole force between him and Rich- 



THE WILDERNESS. 



173 



mond ; and orders were at once issued for a movement 
by his right flank. 

THE MARCH AFTERWARD. 

On the night of the 7th, the march was commenced 
toward Spottsylvania Court-House, the Fifth Corps 
moving on the most direct road. Bat the enemy 
having become apprised of our movement, and having 
the shorter line, was enabled to reach there first. 
On the 8th, General Warren met a force of the enemy 
which had been sent out to oppose and delay his 
advance, to gain time to fortify the line taken up at 
Spottsylvania. This force was steadilj T driven back on 
the main force, within the recently constructed works, 
after considerable fighting, resulting in severe loss to 
both sides. On the morning of the 9th, General Sheri- 
dan started on a raid against the enemy's lines of com- 
munication with Richmond. The 9th, 10th, and 11th 
were spent in manoeuvring and fighting without decisive 
results. Among the killed on the 9th was that able 
and distinguished soldier, Major-Gen. John Sedgwick, 
commanding the Sixth Army Corps. Major-Gen. H. 
G. Wright succeeded him in command. Early on the 
morning of the 12th, a general attack was made on 
the enemy in position. The Second Corps, Major-Gen- 
eral Hancock commanding, carried a salient of his line, 
capturing most of Johnston's division of E well's corps 
and twenty pieces of artillery. But the resistance was 
so obstinate that the advantage gained did not prove 
decisive. The 13th, 14th, loth, 16th, 17th, and 18th 
were consumed in manoeuvring and awaiting the arrjval 
of reinforcements from Washington. Deeming it im- 
practicable to make any further attack upon the enemy 
at Spottsylvania Court-House, orders were issued on 
the 18th with a view to a movement to the North Anna, 
to commence at twelve o'clock on the night of the 19th. 
Late in the afternoon of the 19th, Ewell's corps came 
out of its works on our extreme right flank ; but the 



174 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



attack was promptly repulsed, with heavy loss. This 
delayed the movement to the North Anna until the 
night of the 21st, when it was commenced. But the 
enem}", again having the shorter line, and being in pos- 
session of the main roads, was enabled to reach the 
North Anna in advance of us, and took position behind 
it. The Fifth Corps reached the North Anna on the 
afternoon of the 2 2d, closely followed by the Sixth 
Corps. The Second and Ninth Corps got up about the 
same time, the Second holding the railroad bridge, and 
the Ninth lying between that and Jericho Ford. Gen- 
eral Warren effected a crossing the same afternoon, and 
got a position without much opposition. Soon after 
getting into position he was violently attacked, but 
repulsed the enemy with great slaughter. On the 25th 
General Sheridan rejoined the Arm}^ of the Potomac 
from the raid on which he started from Spottsylvania, 
having destroyed the depots at Beaver Dam and Ash- 
land Stations, four trains of cars, large supplies of 
rations, and many miles of railroad track ; recaptured 
about four hundred of our men, on their way to Rich- 
mond as prisoners of war ; rnet and defeated the enemy's 
cavalry at Yellow Tavern ; carried the first line of 
works around Richmond ; but, finding the second line 
too strong to be carried by assault, recrossed to the 
north bank of the Chiekahominy at Meadow's Bridge, 
under heav}~ fire, and moved by a detour to Haxall's 
Landing, on the James River, where he communicated 
with General Butler. This raid had the effect of draw- 
ing off the whole of the enemy's cavalry force, and 
making it comparatively easy to guard our trains 

Finding the enemy's position on the North Anna 
stronger than either of his previous ones, I withdrew 
on the night of the 26th to the north bank of the North 
Anna, and moved via Hanovertown to turn the enemy's 
position by his right. 

Generals Torbert's and Merritt's divisions of cavalry, 
under Sheridan, and the Sixth Corps, led the advance ; 
crossed the Pamunky River at Hanovertown after con- 



THE WILDERNESS. 



175 



siderable fighting, and on the 28th the two divisions of 
cavahy had a severe but successful engagement with 
the enemy at Haw's shop. On the 29th and 30th we 
advanced, w T ith heavy skirmishing, to the Hanover 
Court-House and Cold Harbor road, and developed the 
enenry's position north of the Chickahominy. Late on 
the evening of the last day the enemy came out and 
attacked our left, but was repulsed with very consider- 
able loss. An attack was immediately ordered by Gen- 
eral Meade along his whole line, which resulted in 
driving the enem} r from a part of his intrenched skir- 
mish line. 

On the 31st, General Wilson's division of cavalry 
destroyed the railroad bridges over the South Anna 
River, after defeating the enemy's cavalry. General 
Sheridan on the same day reached Cold Harbor, and 
held it until relieved by the Sixth Corps and General 
Smith's command, which had just arrived, via White 
House, from General Butler's army. 

On the 1st da} r of June an attack was made at five 
p. m. by the Sixth Corps and the troops under General 
Smith, the other corps being held in readiness to ad- 
vance on the receipt of orders. This resulted in our 
carrying and holding the enemy's first line of works in 
front of the right of the Sixth Corps and in front of 
General Smith. During the attack the enemy made 
repeated assaults on each of the corps not engaged in 
the main attack, but were repulsed with heavy loss in 
ever} T instance. That night he made several assaults 
to regain what he had lost in the day, but failed. The 
2d was spent in getting troops into position for an 
attack on the 3d. On the 3d of June we again assaulted 
the enemy's works, in the hope of driving him from his 
position. In this attempt our loss was heavy, while 
that of the enemy, I have reason to believe, was com- 
paratively light. It was the only general attack made 
from the Rapid an to the James which did not inflict 
upon the enemy losses to compensate for our own losses. 
I w r ould not be understood as saying that all previous 



176 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



attacks resulted in victories to our arms, or accom- 
plished as much as I had hoped from them ; but they 
inflicted upon the enem}~ severe losses, which tended, in 
the end, to the complete overthrow of the Rebellion. 

grant's plans. 

From the proximity of the enemy to his defences 
around Richmond, it was impossible by any flank move- 
ment to interpose between him and the city. I was still 
in a condition to either move b}' his left flank and invest 
Richmond from the north side, or continue my move by 
his right flank to the south side of the James. While 
the former might have been better as a covering for 
Washington, yet a full survey of all the ground satisfied 
me that it would be impracticable to hold a line north 
and east of Richmond that would protect the Fred- 
ericksburg Railroad, — a long, vulnerable line, which 
would exhaust much of our strength to guard, and that 
would have to be protected to supply the army, and 
would leave open to the enemy all his lines of communi- 
cation on the south side of the James. My idea, from 
the start, had been to beat Lee's army north of Rich- 
mond, if possible. Then, after destroying his lines of 
communication north of the James River, to transfer 
the army to the south side, and besiege Lee in Rich- 
mond, or follow him south if he should retreat. After 
the battle of the Wilderness it was evident that the 
enemy deemed it of the first importance to run no risks 
with the army he then had. He acted purely on the 
defensive behind breastworks, or feebly on the offensive 
immediately in front of them, and where, in case of 
repulse, he could easily retire behind them. Without a 
greater sacrifice of life than I was willing to make, all 
could not be accomplished that I lxacl designed north of 
Richmond. I therefore determined to continue to hold 
substantially the ground we then occupied, taking ad- 
vantage of any favorable circumstances that might 
present themselves, until the cavalry could be sent to 



THE WILDERNESS. 



177 



Charlottesville and Gordons ville, to effectually break up 
the railroad connection between Richmond and the 
Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg ; and, when the 
cavalry got well off, to move the army to the south side 
of the James River, by the enemy's right flank, where 
I felt I could cut off all his sources of supply except by 
the canal. 

CAUSE AND EFFECT. 

During three long 3'ears the armies of the Potomac 
and Northern Virginia had been confronting each other. 
In that time they had fought more desperate battles 
than it probably ever before fell to the lot of two armies 
to fight, without materially changing the vantage-ground 
of either. The Southern press and people, with more 
shrewdness than was displayed in the North, finding 
that they had failed to capture Washington and march 
on to New York, as they had boasted the}' would do, 
assumed that they only defended their capital and 
Southern territory. Hence, Antietam, Gettysburg, and 
all the other battles that had been fought, were by them 
set down as failures on our part, and victories for them. 
Their army believed this. It produced a morale which 
could only be overcome by desperate and continuous 
hard fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spott- 
sylvania, North Anna, and Cold Harbor, bloody and 
terrible as they were on our side, were even more 
damaging to the enem} 7 , and so crippled him as to 
make him wary ever after of taking the offensive. His 
losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the 
fact that we were, save in the Wilderness, almost 
invariably the attacking party ; and when he did attack 
it was in the open field. The details of these battles, 
which for endurance and bravery on the part of the 
soldiery have rarely been surpassed, are given in the 
report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate 
reports accompanying it. — Gen. Grant. 

12 



178 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



We cannot copy from General Meade's reports, 
though the boys read them with eager interest. 
Here are some little details of that slow advance 
through the Wilderness. 

OXE OF THE ATTACKS. 

As soon as the troops were in readiness, general 
orders were read to theni, detailing the brilliant opera- 
tions of General Sherman in the West, and General 
Butler south of Richmond. This news fired the ardor 
of the troops, and each man seemed to be determined 
not to be outdone by those belonging to the other com- 
mands. A wild enthusiasm was apparent in their eyes, 
and for a moment the men appeared to be ungovernable. 
But the word of command restored order and silence. 
General Grant, surrounded by his staff, took up a 
prominent and elevated position, and the corps com- 
manders also occupied eminences within view of the 
General-in-chief and of each other. The}' were thus 
enabled to watch the movements of the vast columns 
of the mighty army as they advanced to the respective 
positions whence they were to make the attack 

The hour for the assault was fixed at half past six, 
and once more the time-pieces were compared. The 
generals separated, to take up their assigned positions 
and to direct their troops to victory. The signal guns 
boomed aloud, and twelve reports declared that the 
moment had arrived for the attack. A wild cheer rang 
along the whole line, and the mass advanced with a 
steady front, — column after column, line after line, the 
whole moving together. In the face of a murderous 
-fire our troops pushed on determinedly, each corps 
fighting its own battle, until the army was master of 
the field. Two thousand prisoners were taken, and, 
when night closed, the Union forces were the conquer- 
ors. — N. Y. Herald. 



THE WILDERNESS. 



179 



CHARGE OF THE VERMONT BRIGADE. 

Too much cannot be said in praise of the g gallant 
charge, of the Vermont Brigade, commanded by Colonel 
Grant. On the 10th of May, after the line of Rebel 
works was carried, and their expected support did not 
come up, the division of General Russell not being 
able to remain, owing to the galling fire poured into 
their serried ranks by the second line of the enemy's 
rifle-pits, and being in imminent danger of being cut 
off from the main line, on account of their advanced 
position, had to fall back, and along. with them their 
prisoners, nearly two thousand in number. Twelve 
pieces of cannon were in the works. These had to be 
left, as they could not be removed, and they had not 
with them the necessary implements for spiking them. 
The Vermont Brigade utterly refused to fall back upon 
the main line, even after the position had been occupied 
two hours, and they had given up all hopes of being 
reinforced. Colonel Upton rode down to them and told 
them how dangerous it was to attempt to hold the works 
they were in, since their last round of cartridge had 
been discharged at the enemy, and the} T were rapidly 
being flanked. But the blood of the Green Mountain 
Boys was up, and they absolutely refused to budge a 
single hair from the field the} 7 had wrested from the 
enemy, and from the spot where their comrades had 
fallen. Colonel Upton, assisted by some of their 
own officers, by promising them another charge when 
the}' had supplied themselves with ammunition, at last 
induced them sullenly to retire. — Mr, Long, N. T. 
Herald. 

PICKET FIRING AND THE REASON. 

All last evening and night there was a constant 
musketry-firing in our immediate front. Thinking it 
unusually incessant, I inquired the cause, and it seems 
that between our two skirmish lines are fifteen of our 



180 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



captured cannon, which we had been unable to take 
from the field. The enemy was determined that we 
should not get them, and our men were as detennined 
that they should not go back again into the possession 
of the enemy. Hence the constant mutual firing. The 
possession of these guns promises to become a hotly 
contested point before it is decided. — Mr. Hendrick, 
JK Y. Herald. 

FIGHT WITH FIRE. 

Unfortunately the dry logs of which the breastwork 
was formed were but partially covered with earth ; and 
the flames ignited by the burning wadding during the 
conflict — an enemy that could not be resisted as easily 
as the myrmidons of Longstreet — destroyed them, and 
every second of time widened the breaches. The un- 
daunted men crowded together until the}" formed fourteen 
or sixteen ranks ; and those who were in the front dis- 
charged the guns which were constantly passed to them 
by their comrades who were in the rear and could not 
aim with accuracy or safety. The fire triumphed when 
it flashed along the entire barrier of wood, reduced it to 
ashes, and forced the defenders, who had withstood to 
the last its intolerable heat, to retire to the rifle-pits 
which were a short distance in the rear. — Capt. Blake, 
llth Mass. 

BACK AXD FORTH. 

Both armies had protected their main columns by fell- 
ing trees and forming almost impassable abatis, and the 
fighting was done principally by divisions sent out from 
these lines. The movements during the entire battle 
were of a remarkable character, most expressively de- 
scribed as seesaw, — the Rebels making frantic efforts 
to pierce our lines, first at one point and then an- 
other, to be driven back by our troops, who charged 
impetuously up to the Rebel barricades. It is impossi- 



THE WILDERNESS. 181 

ble now to particularize the individual achievements of 
divisions, as these were frequently taken from one 
corps to support another, and at times one corps com- 
mander would have under his direction nearly one half 
the arnry. Occasionally there was considerable dis- 
order, but nothing serious, as troops that broke and ran 
in the wildest manner afterwards made some of the 
most brilliant charges of the day. — N. T. Herald. 

After the Wilderness fighting the armies of the 
Potomac and of the James were united. The 
James River was so bridged that communication 
could be readily kept up between North and 
South. From this time till Richmond fell, in the 
next spring, the united armies were surrounding 
the two cities of Richmond and Petersburg more 
and more closely, and compelling them to draw all 
supplies from the west and northwest exclusively. 

Lee and his generals were eager at every pos- 
sible moment to try the old strategy, of dashing 
down the valley of the Shenandoah to alarm 
Washington or the Northern States. But this 
time they had General Phil Sheridan before them. 
After the raid which Grant describes in the 
despatch you have read, he was in command in the 
Valley of Virginia. 

There is hardly a boy or a girl who has not read 
the ballad of Sheridan's Ride. Here is his own 
description of that day, and what led to it. 

He is speaking of a plan which he did not ap- 
prove of, — for which the consultations called him 
away. 



182 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Sheridan's ride. 

This plan I would not indorse, but in order to settle 
it definitely. I was called to Washington by the follow- 
ing telegram : — 

Washington, October 13, 1864. 
Major-General Sheridan [through General Augur] : — 

If you can come here a consultation on several points is 
extremely desirable. I propose to visit General Grant, and would 
like to see you first. 

(Signed,) E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War. 

On the evening of the 15th. I determined to go, 
believing that the enemy at Fisher's Hill could not 
accomplish much, and as I had concluded not to attack 
him at present, I ordered the whole of the cavalry force 
under General Torbert to accompany me to Front 
Royal, from whence I intended to push it through 
Chester Gap to the Virginia Central Railroad at 
Charlottesville, while I passed through Manassas Gap 
to Piedmont, thence by rail to Washington. Upon my 
arrival with the cavalry at Front Royal, on the night 
of the 16th, I received the following despatch from Gen- 
eral Wright, who was left at Cedar Creek in command 
of the army : — 

Head-quarters, Middle Military Division, 
October 16. 1864. 

Major-General P. H. Sheridan, commanding Middle Military 
Division : — 

General : — I enclose you despatch which explains itself. [See 
copy following ] 

If the enemy should be strongly reinforced in cavalry, he 
might, by turning our right, give us a great deal of trouble. I 
shall hold on here until the enemy's movements are developed, 
,and shall only fear an attack on my right, which I shall make 
every preparation for guarding against and resisting. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
(Signed,) H. G. Wright, Major-General Commanding. 

To Lieutenant-General Early : — 

Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you, and we vrill crush 
Sheridan. 

(Signed,) Longstreet, Lieutenant- General. 



SHERIDAN'S RIDE. 



183 



This message was taken off the Rebel signal flag, on 
Threetop Mountain. 

My first thought was that it was a ruse, but, on reflec- 
tion, deemed it best to abandon the cavalry raid, and 
give to General Wright the entire strength of the arnry. 
I therefore ordered the cavalry to return and report to 
him, and addressed the following note on the subject : — 

Head-quarters Middle Military Division, 
Front Royal, October 16, 1854. 

Major-Gen. H. G. Wright, commanding Sixth Army Corps : — 

General : — The cavalry is all ordered back to you ; make 
your position strong. If Longstreet's despatch is true, he is under 
the impression that we have largely detached. I will go over to 
Augur, and may get additional news. 

Close in Colonel Powell, who will be at this point. If the 
enemy should make an advance, I know you will defeat him. 
Look well to your ground and be well prepared. Get up every- 
thing that can be spared. I will bring up all I can, and will be 
up on Tuesday, if not sooner. 

(Signed,) P. H. Sheridan, Major- General. 

After sending this note, I continued through Manas- 
sas Gap and on to Piedmont, and from thence by rail 
to Washington, arriving on the morning of the 17th. 
At 12 o'clock m., I returned by special train to Martins- 
burg, arriving on the evening of the 18th at Winchester, 
in company with Colonels Thorn and Alexander, of the 
Engineer Corps, sent with me by General Halleck. 
During my absence the enemy had gathered all his 
strength, and, in the night of the 18th, and early on the 
19th, moved silently from Fisher's Hill, through Stras- 
burg, pushed a heavy turning column across the She- 
nandoah, on the road from Strasburg to Front Royal, 
and again re crossed the river at Bowman's Ford, strik- 
ing Crook, who held the left of our line, in flank and 
rear, so unexpectedly and forcibly as to drive in his out- 
posts, invade his camp, and turn his position. This 
surprise was owing, probably, to not closing in Powell, 
or to the cavalry divisions of Merritt and Custer being 
placed on the right of our line, where it had always 
occurred to me there was but little danger of attack. 



184 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



This was followed by a direct attack upon our front, 
and the result was, that the whole arm}* was driven 
back in confusion, to a point about one and a half miles 
north of Middletown, a very large portion of the in- 
fantry not even preserving a company organization. 

At about seven o'clock on the morning of the 19th of 
October, an officer on picket at Winchester reported 
artillery firing ; but, supposing it resulted from a recon- 
noissauce which had been ordered for this morning, I 
paid no attention to it, and was unconscious of the true 
condition of affairs until about nine o'clock, when, hav- 
ing ridden through the town of Winchester, the sound 
of the artillery made a battle unmistakable, and, on 
reaching Mill Creek, half a mile south of Winchester, 
the head of the fugitives appeared in sight, trains and 
men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity. 

I immediately gave directions to halt and park the 
trains at Mill Creek, and ordered the brigade at Win- 
chester to stretch across the country and stop all strag- 
glers. Taking twenty men from my escort. I pushed 
on to the front, leaving the balance, under General 
Forsyth and Colonels Thorn and Alexander, to do what 
they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives. 

I am happy to sa} T that hundreds of the men, who, on 
reflection, found they had not done themselves justice, 
came back with cheers. 

On arriving at the front, I found Merritt's and Cus- 
ter's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, and General 
Getty's division of the Sixth Corps, opposing the en- 
emy. I suggested to General Wright that we would 
fight on Getty's line, and to transfer Custer to the right 
at once, as he (Custer) and Merritt, from being on the 
right in the morning, had been transferred to the left, 
— that the remaining two divisions of the Sixth Corps, 
which were to the right and rear of Getty about two 
miles, should be ordered up. and also that the Nine- 
teenth Corps, which was on the right and rear of these 
two divisions, should be hastened up before the enemy 
attacked Getty. 



SHERIDAN'S RIDE. 



185 



I then started out all my staff officers to bring up 
these troops, and was so convinced that we would soon 
be attacked, that I went back myself to urge them on. 

Immediately after, I returned and assumed com- 
mand, General Wright returning to his corps, Getty to 
his division, and the line of battle was formed on the 
prolongation of General Getty's line, and a temporary 
breastwork of rails, logs, &c. thrown up hastily. 

Shortly after this was done, the enemy advanced, 
and, from a point on the left of our line of battle, I 
could see his columns moving to the attack, and at 
once notified corps commanders to be prepared. 

This assault fell principally on the Nineteenth Corps, 
and was repulsed. 

I am pleased to be able to state that the strength of 
the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps,-and Crook's command, 
was now being rapidly augmented by the return of 
those who had gone to the rear early in the day. 

Reports coming in from the Front Roj^al pike, on 
which Powell's division of cavalry was posted, to the 
effect that a heavy column of infantry was moving on 
that pike in the direction of Winchester, and that he 
(Powell) was retiring, and would come in at Newtown, 
caused me great anxiet} 7 for the time, and, although I 
could not .fully believe that such a movement would be 
undertaken, still it delayed my general attack. 

At four o'clock p. m. I ordered the advance. 

This attack was brilliantly made, and, as the enemy 
was protected b} r rail breastworks, and at some por- 
tions of his line by stone fences, his resistance was 
veiy determined. His line of battle overlapped the 
right of mine, and, by turning with this portion of it 
on the flank of the Nineteenth Corps, caused a slight 
momentary confusion. This movement was checked, 
however, by a counter-charge of General McMillan's 
brigade upon the re-entering angle thus formed by 
the enemy, and his flanking party cut off. 

It was at this stage of the battle that Custer was 
ordered to charge with his entire division : but, al- 



186 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



though the order was promptly obeyed, it was not in 
time to capture the whole of the force thus cut off, 
and many escaped across Cedar Creek. 

Simultaneously with this charge, a combined move- 
ment of the whole line drove the enemy in confusion 
to the Creek, where, owing to the difficulties of cross- 
ing, his army became routed. 

Custer, finding a ford on Cedar. Creek west of the 
Pike, and Devens, of Merritfs division, one to the east 
of it, they each made the crossing just after dark, 
and pursued the routed mass of the enemy to Fisher's 
Hill, where this strong position gave him some pro- 
tection against our cavalry, but the most of his trans- 
portation had been captured, the road from Cedar 
Creek to Fisher's Hill, a distance of over three miles, 
being literally blocked by wagons, ambulances, artil- 
lery, caissons, &c. 

The enemy did not halt his main force at Fisher's 
Hill, but continued the retreat during the night to 
New Market, where his army had, on a similar pre- 
vious occasion, come together by means of the nu- 
merous roads that converge to this point. 

This battle practically ended the campaign in the 
Shenandoah Valley. When it opened, we found our 
enemy boastful and confident, unwilling to acknowledge 
that the soldiers of the Union were their equal in cour- 
age and manliness ; when it closed with Cedar Creek, 
this impression had been removed from his mind, and 
gave place to good sense and a strong desire to quit 
righting. 

The very best troops of the Confederacy had not 
only been defeated, but had been routed in successive 
engagements, until their spirit and esprit was de- 
stroyed ; in obtaining these results, however, our loss 
in officers and men was severe. Practical!}', all terri- 
tory north of the James River now belonged to me, and 
the holding of the lines about Petersburg and Rich- 
mond by the enemy must have been embarrassing, 
and invited the question of good military judgment. 



SHERIDAN'S RIDE. 



187 



On entering the Valley, it was not my object, by 
flank movements, to make the enemy change his base, 
nor to move as far up as the James River, and thus 
give him the opportunity of making me change my 
base, therefore converting it into a race-course as here- 
tofore, but to destro}', to the best of my ability, that 
which was truly the Confederacy, — its armies ; in 
doing this, so far as the opposing army was concerned, 
our success was such that there was no one connected 
with the army of the Shenandoah who did not so fully 
realize it as to render the issuing of congratulatory 
orders unnecessary ; eveiy officer and man was made to 
understand that, when a victory was gained, it was not 
more than their duty, nor less than their country ex- 
pected from her gallant sons ! 

"Uncle Fritz," said Horace, " Phil Sheridan 
never read your book about writing." 

" How do you know that, boy?" 

" Oh ! he writes such awful long sentences." 

u Well, my boy, I do not care how long your 
sentences are, if you will do your work as well 
as he." 



CHAPTER XL 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 

IN March, 1864, when Grant was appointed 
Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-Chief, 
he left Chattanooga and Nashville for the East. 
General Sherman was then put in his place, with 
Johnson in front of him, commanding what was 
left of the army which had been defeated at Chat- 
tanooga. 

Sherman took the offensive as soon as the spring 
came, and began driving the enemy back on At- 
lanta. By a series of tactical manoeuvres, in sev- 
eral instances by flanking his opponent, Sherman 
forced him farther and farther back without any 
serious battle, until, on the night of the 1st ot 
September, Atlanta was abandoned. The whole 
campaign was a moving siege. Johnson would 
evacuate the lines which Sherman had rendered 
untenable, and the next day he would be found, 
ten miles back, behind another line of intrench- 
ments. 

Had this mode of offensive defence been con- 
tinued, the famous "March to the Sea" would 
never have been made, though the Union army 



S HERMAN'S GREAT M ARCH. 



189 



was much the superior; but the Rebel government 
was not satisfied with these slow measures, and 
superseded General Johnson by General Hood, 
a rash soldier, who did not possess the confidence 
of the army. He was not satisfied with looking 
on while Sherman was establishing himself in At- 
lanta, and with cutting his connections once in a 
while. He looked with longing eyes to Tennessee;, 
and finally, early in October, he turned Sherman's 
right, and attacked Allatoona, a fortified place 
commanding the railroad north from Atlanta. If 
he had taken it, be could, with a small number of 
men, have kept Sherman south, while he marched 
on Nashville. 

But Allatoona was bravely defended by General 
Corse, 1 and held against vastly superior numbers, 
till it was relieved. Hood " caromed off," as 
Sherman says, to the west, and then made himself 
busy in equipping his army for a march north, 
whether Sherman followed or no. 

On this, Sherman sent two corps to General Tho- 
mas, at Xashville, with orders to check Hood's ad- 
vance, or to follow him, as the case might require. 
He stripped Atlanta, and the northern posts as far 
as Chattanooga, and, reserving for himself sixty- 
five guns, with thirty days' rations and two hun- 
dred rounds of ammunition for each of his sixty 
thousand men, he sent the rest to Union ground. 

1 Sherman's order, signalled to Corse, was the celebrated mes- 
sage upon which the song " Hold the Fort " is based. 



100 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Then he turned to the southeast, and set out for 
the sea. 

Savannah is three hundred miles from Atlanta. 
In marching these three hundred miles, Sherman 
meant to destroy the railroad system of Georgia, 
to disgust the inhabitants of the State with war, 
and so to cut the Rebellion through in a second 
place, as Grant had cut it before when he took 
Vicksburg. The capture of Savannah was a sec- 
ondary point. 

This has all been done now. The new depart- 
ure in war has been taken. But then it was 
another matter. To give up one base of supplies, 
and to strike so far for another, through an en- 
emy's country, was almost unheard of. What- 
ever else generals abandoned, they kept open their 
lines of connection. We have seen how, at a slight 
pressure on his line of communication, before the 
battle of Gettysburg, Lee totally changed his line 
of march in order to save them. In this he was 
following the usual practice, and for a general to 
attempt to feed sixty thousand men from what he 
could carry and collect in a hostile country, was 
unknown. The authorities in Washington gave 
only a reluctant consent, and there were too many 
so-called authorities elsewhere who pronounced 
Sherman crazy. For almost a month, no word 
came to the North from him, except by the South- 
ern newspapers, which insisted that he was retreat- 
ing in disorder and on the point of destruction. 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



191 



Great were the rejoicings in the North when they 
learned that he had taken Fort McAllister, had 
joined our fleet, and captured Savannah ! 

Sherman met with but little resistance till he 
reached Savannah ; his total loss in the campaign 
was fourteen hundred, so that he was quite ready 
to march north again through the Carolinas, and 
receive the sword of his old rival, Johnson, when 
the end came. 

" HOLD THE FOUT, FOR I AM COMING." 

I inferred that Allatoona was their objective point, — 
and on the 4th of October I signalled from Vining's 
Station to Kenesaw, and from Kenesaw to Allatoona, 
over the heads of the enem}^, a message for General 
Corse, at Rome, to hurry back to the assistance of the 
garrison at Allatoona. 

Reaching Kenesaw Mountain about eight a. m. of 
October 5th (a beautiful da} T ), I had a superb view 
of the vast panorama to the north and west. To the 
southwest, about Dallas, could be seen the smoke of 
camp-fires, indicating the presence of a large force 
of the enem} T , and the whole line of railroad from Big 
Shanty up to Allatoona (full fifteen miles) was marked 
by the fires of the burning railroad. We could plainly 
see the smoke of battle about Allatoona, and hear the 
faint reverberation of the cannon. 

From Kenesaw I ordered the Twenty- third Corps 
(General Cox) to march due west on the Burnt Hick- 
ory road, and to burn houses or piles of brush as it 
progressed, to indicate the head of column, hoping to 
interpose this corps between Hood's main army at 
Dallas and the detachment then assailing Allatoona. 
The rest of the army was directed straight for Alla- 
toona, northwest, distant eighteen miles. The signal 



192 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



officer on Kenesaw reported that since daylight he had 
failed to obtain any answer to his call for Allatoona ; 
but, while I was with him, he caught a faint glimpse of 
the tell-tale flag through an embrasure, and after much 
time he made out these letters, — 44 C," U R.," "S.," 
"E.," 44 H.," 44 E.," 44 R.," — and translated the mes- 
sage, 44 Corse is here." It was a source of great relief, 
for it gave me the first assurance that General Corse 
had received his orders, and that the place was ade- 
quately garrisoned. 

I watched with painful suspense the indications of 
the battle raging there, and was dreadfully impatient 
at the slow progress of the relieving column, whose 
advance was marked by the smokes which were made 
according to orders, but about two p. m. I noticed with 
satisfaction that the smoke of battle about Allatoona 
grew less and less, and ceased altogether about four 
p. M. For a time I attributed this result to the effect 
of General Cox's march, but later in the afternoon 
the signal flag announced the welcome tidings that the 
attack had been fairly repulsed, but that General Corse 
was wounded. 

Inasmuch as the enemy had retreated southwest, 
and would probably next appear at Rome, I answered 
General Corse with orders to get back to Rome with 
his troops as quickly as possible. 

General Corse's report of this fight at Allatoona is 
ver}^ full and graphic. It is dated Rome, October 27, 
1864 ; recites the fact that he received his orders by 
signal to go to the assistance of Allatoona on the 4th, 
when he telegraphed to Kingston for cars, and a train 
of thirty empty cars was started for him, but about ten 
of them got off the track and caused delay. seven 
p. m. he had at Rome a train of twenty cars, which he 
loaded up with Colonel Rowett's brigade, and part of 
the Twelfth Illinois Infantry; started at eight p. m., 
reached Allatoona (distant thirty-five miles) at one 
a. m. of the 5th, and sent the train back for more men ; 
but the road was in bad order, and no more men came 



SHERMAX'S GREAT MARCH. 



193 



m time. He found Colonel Tourtellotte's garrison com- 
posed of eighi hundred and ninety men ; his reinforce- 
ment was one thousand and fifty-four : total for the 
defence, nineteen hundred and forty-four. The out- 
posts were already engaged, and as soon as da}iight 
came he drew back the men from the village to the 
ridge on which the redoubts were built. 

ALLATOONA FIGHT. 

The enemy was composed of French's division of 
three brigades, variously reported from four to five 
thousand strong. This force gradually surrounded the 
place by eight a. m., when General French sent in by 
flag of truce this note : — 

Around Allatoona, October 5, 1864. 
Commanding Officer, United States Forces, Allatoona: — 

I have placed the forces under my command in such positions 
that you are surrounded, and to avoid a needless effusion of blood 
I call on you to surrender your forces at once, and uncondition- 
ally. 

Five minutes will be allowed you to decide. Should you 
accede to this, you will be treated in the most honorable manner 
as prisoners of war. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours, 
S. G. French, 
Major General commanding forces Confederate States 

General Corse answered immediately : — 

Headquarters, Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps, 
Allatoona, Georgia, 8 30 A. m., Oct. 5, 1864. 

Major General S. G. French, Confederate States, frc. : — 

Your communication demanding surrender of my command I 
acknowledge receipt of, and respectfully reply that we are pre- 
pared for the "needless effusion of blood" whenever it is agree- 
able to you. 

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
John M. Corse, 
Brigadier- General commanding forces United States. 

Of course the attack began at once, coming from 
front, flank, and rear. There were two small redoubts, 
13 



194 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



with slight parapets and ditches, one on each side of 
the deep railroad-cat. These redoubts had been located 
by Colour! Foe. United States Engineers, at the time 
of our advMice on Kenesaw. the previous June. Each 
redoubt overlooked the storehouses close by the rail- 
road, and each could aid the other defensively by 
catching in flank the attacking force of the other. Our 
troops at first endeavored to hold some ground outside 
the redoubts, but were soon driven inside, when the 
enemy made repeated assaults, but were always driven 
back. About eleven a. m.. Colonel Redfield, of the 
Thirty- ninth Iowa, was killed, and Colonel Rowett was 
wounded, but never ceased to fight and encourage his 
men. Colonel Tourtellotte was shot through the hips, 
but continued to command. General Corse was, at 
one p. m. . shot across the face, the ball cutting his ear, 
which stunned him. but he continued to encourage his 
men and to give orders. The enemy (about 1.30 p. m.) 
made a last and desperate effort to carry one of the 
redoubts, but was badly cut to pieces by the artillery 
and infantry fire from the other, when he began to draw 
otf. leaving his dead and wounded on the ground. 

Before finally withdrawing. General French converged 
a heavy fire of his cannon on the block-house at Alla- 
toona Creek, about two miles from the depot, set it on 
fire, and captured its garrison, consisting of four offi- 
cers and eighty-five men. By four p. m. he was in full 
retreat south, on the Dallas road, and got by before 
the head of General Cox's column had reached it ; still, 
several ambulances and stragglers were picked up by 
this command on that road. General Corse reported 
two hundred and thirty-one Rebel dead, four hundred 
and eleven prisoners, three regimental colors, and eight 
hundred muskets captured. 

Among the prisoners was a Brigadier-General Young, 
who thought that French's aggregate loss would reach 
two thousand. Colonel Tourtellotte says that, for days 
after General Corse had returned to Rome, his men 
ibund and buried at least a hundred more dead Rebels, 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



195 



who had doubtless been wounded, and died in the 
woods, near Allatoona. I know that when I reached 
Allatoona, on the 9th, I saw a good many dead men, 
which had been collected for burial. 

Corse's entire loss, officially reported, was : — 

Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total. 
Officers .... 6 23 6 35 

Men 136 330 206 612 

Total ... "142 353 "212 "707 

I esteemed this defence of Allatoona so handsome 
and important, that I made it the subject of a general 
order, viz. No. 86, of October 7, 1864 : — 

The general commanding avails himself of the opportunity, in 
the handsome defence made of Allatoona, to illustrate the most 
important principle in war, that fortified posts should be defended 
to the last, regardless of the relative numbers of the party attack- 
ing and attacked The thanks of this army are due and are 

hereby accorded to General Corse, Colonel Tourtellotte, Colonel 
Kowett, officers, and men, for their determined and gallant de- 
fence of Allatoona, and it is made an example to illustrate the 
importance of preparing in time, and meeting the danger when 
present, boldly, manfully, and well. 

Commanders and garrisons of the posts along our railroad are 
hereby instructed that they must hold their posts to the last 
minute, sure that the time gained is valuable and necessary to 
their comrades at the front. 

By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman. 

L. M. Dayton, Aid-de-Camp. 

A PART OF THE FIELD ORDERS FOR THE 
MARCH. 

4. The army will forage liberally on the county dur- 
ing the march. To this end, each brigade commander 
will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under 
the command of one or more discreet officers, who will 
gather, near the route travelled, corn or forage of any 
kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or what- 
ever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to 
keep in the wagons at least ten da3 r s' provisions for his 



196 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



command, and three days' forage. Soldiers must not 
enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any 
trespass ; but, during a halt or camp, they may be 
permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vege- 
tables, and to drive in stock in sight of their camp. To 
regular foraging-parties must be intrusted the gathering 
of provisions and forage, at any distance from the road 
travelled. 

5. To corps commanders alone is intrusted the 
power to destro} r mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c. ; and 
for them this general principle is laid down : in districts 
and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no 
destruction of such property should be permitted ; but 
should guerillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or 
should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or 
otherwise manifest local hostility, then army command- 
ers should order and enforce a devastation more or less 
relentless, according to the measure of such hostility. 

6. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c, belonging to the 
inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate 
freely and without limit ; discriminating, however, be- 
tween the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and 
industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging-par- 
ties may also take mules or horses, to replace the jaded 
animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for 
the regiments or brigades. In all foraging of whatever 
kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or 
threatening language, and ma} r , where the officer in com- 
mand thinks proper, give written certificates of the 
facts, but no receipts ; and the}' will endeavor to leave 
with each family a reasonable portion for their main- 
tenance. 

7. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of ser- 
vice to the several columns may be taken along ; but 
each army commander will bear in mind that the ques- 
tion of supplies is a very important one, and that his 
first duty is to see to those who bear arms. 

8. The organization, at once, of a good pioneer 
battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



197 



negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should 
follow the advance-guard, repair roads and double them 
if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed 
after reaching bad places. Also army commanders 
should practise the habit of giving the artillery and 
wagons the road, marching their troops on one side, 
and instruct their troops to assist wagons at steep hills 
or bad crossings of streams. — Gen. Sherman. 

THE MARCH BEGINS. 

About seven a.m. of November 16th we rode out of 
Atlanta by the Decatur road, filled by the marching 
troops and wagons of the Fourteenth Corps ; and reach- 
ing the hill, just outside of the old Rebel works, we 
naturally paused to look back upon the scenes of our 
past battles. We stood upon the very ground whereon 
was fought the blood}' battle of July 2 2d, and could 
see the copse of wood where McPherson fell. Behind 
us kiy Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, the black 
smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over 
the ruined city. Away off in the distance, on the 
McDonough road, was the rear of Howard's column, 
the gun-barrels glistening in the sun, the white-topped 
wagons stretching away to the south ; and right before 
us the Fourteenth Corps, marching steadily and rapidly, 
with a cheery look and swinging pace, that made light 
of the thousand miles that lay between us and Rich- 
mond. Some band, by accident, struck up the anthem 
of u John Brown's soul goes marching on"; the men 
caught up the strain, and never before or since have I 
heard the chorus of 44 Gkny, gloiy, hallelujah!" done 
with more spirit, or in better harmony of time and 
place. 

Then we turned our horses' heads to the east ; At- 
lanta was soon lost behind the screen of trees, and 
became a thing of the past. Around it clings many a 
thought of desperate battle, of hope and fear, that now 
seem like the memory of a dream ; and I have never 



198 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



seen the place since. The day was extremely beautiful, 
clear sunlight, with bracing air, and an unusual feeling 
of exhilaration seemed to pervade all minds, — a feeling 
of something to come, vague and undefined, still full 
of venture and intense interest. Even the common 
soldiers caught the inspiration, and man}' a group called 
out to me as I worked my way past them, 4 'Uncle 
Billy, I guess Grant is waiting for us at Richmond ! " 
Indeed, the general sentiment was that we were march- 
ing for Richmond, and that there we should end the 
war, but how and when the}' seemed to care not ; nor 
did they measure the distance, or count the cost in life, 
or bother their brains about the great rivers to be 
crossed, and the food required for man and beast, that 
had to be gathered by the way. There was a " devil- 
may-care " feeling pervading officers and men, that 
made me feel the full load of responsibility, for success 
would be accepted as a matter of course, whereas, 
should we fail, this 4 'march" would be adjudged the 
wild adventure of a crazy fool. I had no purpose to 
march direct for Richmond b} T way of Augusta and 
Charlotte, but always designed to reach the sea-coast 
first at Savannah or Port Royal, South Carolina, and 
even kept in mind the alternative of Pensacola. 

The first night out we camped by the road-side near 
Lithonia. Stone Mountain, a mass of granite, was in 
plain view, cut out in clear outline against the blue sky ; 
the whole horizon was lurid with the bonfires of rail- 
ties, and groups of men all night were carrying the 
heated rails to the nearest trees, and bending them 
around the trunks. Colonel Poe had provided tools for 
ripping up the rails and twisting them when hot ; but 
the best and easiest way is the one I have described, of 
heating the middle of the iron-rails on bonfires made 
of the cross-ties, and then winding them around a tele- 
graph-pole or the trunk of some convenient sapling. I 
attached much importance to this destruction of the 
railroad, gave it my own personal attention, and made 
reiterated orders to others on the subject. 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 199 



The next clay we passed through the handsome town 
of Covington, the soldiers closing up their ranks, the 
color-bearers unfurling their flags, and the bands strik- 
ing up patriotic airs. The white people came out of 
their houses to behold the sight, spite of their deep 
hatred of the invaders, and the negroes were simply 
frantic with joy. Whenever they heard my name, they 
clustered about my horse, shouted and pra3*ed in their 
peculiar st}\Le, which had a natural eloquence that would 
have moved a stone. I have witnessed hundreds, if not 
thousands, of such scenes ; and can now see a poor 
girl, in the very ecstasy of the Methodist 44 shout," 
hugging the banner of one of the regiments, and jump- 
ing up to the 44 feet of Jesus." 

I remember, when riding around by a by-street in 
Covington, to avoid the crowd that followed the march- 
ing column, that some one brought me an invitation to 
dine with a sister of Sam. Anderson, who was a cadet 
at West Point with me ; but the messenger reached me 
after we had passed the main part of the town. I 
asked to be excused, and rode on to a place designated 
for camp, at the crossing of the Ulcofauhachee River, 
about four miles to the east of the town. Here we 
made our bivouac, and I walked up to a plantation- 
house close by, where were assembled many negroes, 
among them an old, gray-haired man, of as fine a head 
as I ever saw. I asked him if he understood about the 
war and its progress. He said he did ; that he had 
been looking for the 44 angel of the Lord" ever since 
he was knee-high, and, though we professed to be fight- 
ing for the Union, he supposed that slavery was the 
cause, and that our success was to be his freedom. I 
asked him if all the negro slaves comprehended this 
fact, and he said they surely did. I then explained to 
him that we wanted the slaves to remain where they 
were, and not to load us down with useless mouths, 
which would eat up the food needed for our fighting- 
men ; that our success was their assured freedom ; that 
we could receive a few of their young, hearty men as 



200 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



pioneers ; but that, if they followed us in swarms of 
old and young, feeble and helpless, it would simply load 
us down and cripple us in our great task. I think 
Major Heniy Hitchcock was with me on that occasion, 
and made a note of the conversation, and I believe that 
old man spread this message to the slaves, which was 
carried from mouth to mouth, to the very end of our 
journey, and that it in part saved us from the great 
danger w r e incurred of swelling our numbers so that 
famine would have attended our progress. It was at 
this very plantation that a soldier passed me with a 
ham on his musket, a jug of sorghum-molasses under 
his arm, and a big piece of honey in his hand, from 
which he was eating, and, catching my eye, he remarked 
sotto voce and carelessly to a comrade, "Forage liberally 
on the country," quoting from my general orders. On 
this occasion, as on inany others that fell under my 
personal observation, I reproved the man, explained 
that foraging must be limited to the regular parties 
properly detailed, and that all provisions thus obtained 
must be delivered to the regular commissaries, to be 
fairly distributed to the men who kept their ranks. 

The skill and success of the men in collecting forage 
was one of the features of this march. Each brigade 
commander had authority to detail a company of 
foragers, usually about fifty men, with one or two com- 
missioned officers selected for their boldness and enter- 
prise. This part}' would be despatched before daylight, 
with a knowledge of the intended day's march and 
camp ; would proceed on foot five or six miles from the 
route travelled by their brigade, and then visit every 
plantation and farm within range. They would usually 
procure a wagon or family carriage, load it with bacon, 
corn-meal, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and everything 
that could be used as food or forage, and would then 
regain the main road, usually in advance of their train. 
When this came up, they would deliver to the brigade 
commissary the supplies thus gathered by the way. 
Often would I pass these foraging-parties at the road- 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



201 



side, waiting for their wagons to come up, and was 
amused at their strange collections, — mules, horses, 
even cattle, packed with old saddles and loaded with 
hams, bacon, bags of corn-meal, and poultiy of every 
character and description. Although this foraging was 
attended with great danger and hard work, there 
seemed to be a charm about it that attracted the 
soldiers, and it was a privilege to be detailed on such a 
party. Daily they returned mounted on all sorts of 
beasts, which were at once taken from them and appro- 
priated to the general use ; but the next day they would 
start out again on foot, only to repeat the experience 
of the day before. No doubt, many acts of pillage, 
robbery, and violence, were committed by these parties 
of foragers, usually called 64 bummers"; for I have 
since heard of jewelry taken from women, and the 
plunder of articles that never reached the commissary ; 
but these acts were exceptional and incidental. 

I have seen much skill and industry displayed by 
these quartermasters on the march, in trying to load 
their wagons with corn and fodder by the way without 
losing their place in column. They would, while march- 
ing, shift the loads of wagons, so as to have six or ten 
of them empty. Then, riding well ahead, they would 
secure possession of certain stacks of fodder near the 
road, or cribs of corn, leave some men in charge, then 
open fences and a road back for a couple of miles, 
return to their trains, divert the empty wagons out of 
column, and conduct them rapidly to their forage, load 
up, and regain their place in column without losing dis- 
tance. On one occasion I remember to have seen ten 
or a dozen wagons thus loaded with corn from two or 
three full cribs, almost without halting. These -cribs 
were built of logs, and roofed. The train-guard, by a 
lever, had raised the whole side of the crib a foot or 
two ; the wagons drove close alongside, and the men in 
the cribs, lying on their backs, kicked out a wagon-load 
of corn in the time I have taken to describe it. 

In a well-ordered and well-disciplined army, these 



202 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



things might be deemed irregular, but I am convinced 
that the ingenuity of these younger officers accomplished 
ma:ay things far better than I could have ordered, and 
the marches were thus made, and the distances were 
accomplished, in the most admirable way. Habitually 
we started from camp at the earliest break of dawn, and 
usually reached camp soon after noon. The marches 
varied from ten to fifteen miles a day, though sometimes 
on extreme flanks it was necessary to make as much as 
twenty, but the rate of travel was regulated by the 
wagons ; and, considering the nature of the roads, 
fifteen miles per day was deemed the limit. 

The pontoon trains were in like manner distributed 
in about equal proportions to the four corps, giving 
each a section of about nine hundred feet. The pon- 
toons were of the skeleton pattern, with cotton-canvas 
covers, each boat, with its proportion of balks and 
chesses, constituting a load for one wagon. By uniting 
two such sections together, we could make a bridge of 
eighteen hundred feet, enough for any river we had to 
traverse ; but habitually the leading brigade would, out 
of the abundant timber, improvise a bridge before the 
pontoon train could come up, unless in the cases of 
rivers of considerable magnitude. — Gen. Sherman. 

CUTTING LOOSE. 

November 13th. — Yesterday the last train of cars 
whirled rapidly past the troops moving south, speeding 
over bridges and into the woods as if they feared they 
might be left helpless in the deserted land. At Car- 
tersville the last communications with the North were 
severed with the telegraph-wire. It bore the message 
to General Thomas, "All is well." And so we have 
cut adrift from our base of operations, from our line of 
communications, launching out into uncertainty at the 
best, on a journey whose projected end only a few in 
the command know. Its real fate and destination they 
do not know, since that rests with the goodness of God 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 203 



and the brave hearts and strong limbs of otir soldiers. 
The history of war bears no similar example, except 
that of Cortes burning his ships. It is a bold, hazard- 
ous undertaking. There is no backward step possible 
here. Thirty clan's' rations and a new base : that time 
and those supplies will be exhausted in the most rapid 
march ere we can arrive at the nearest sea-coast ; 
arrived there, what then? I never heard that manna 
grew on the sand-beaches or in the marshes, though 
we are sure that we can obtain forage on our wa}- ; and 
I have reason to know that General Sherman is in the 
highest degree sanguine and cheerful, — sure even of 
success. 

As for the soldiers, they do not stop to ask questions. 
Sherman says 44 Come, " and that is the entire vocabu- 
lary to them. A most cheerful feature of the situation 
is the fact that the men are healthful and jolly as men 
can be ; hoping for the best, willing to dare the worst. 

Behind us we leave a track of smoke and flame. 
Half of Marietta was burned up, — not b} r orders, how- 
ever ; for the command is that proper details shall be 
made to destro}' all property which can ever be of use 
to the Rebel armies. Stragglers will get into these 
places, and dwelling-houses are levelled to the ground. 
In nearly all cases these are the deserted habitations 
formerly owned by Rebels who are now refugees. 

Yesterda}% as some of our men were marching 
toward the Chattahoochee River, they saw in the dis- 
tance pillars of smoke rising along its banks, — the 
bridges were in flames. Said one, hitching his musket 
on his shoulder in a free and easy wa}', 44 1 say, 
Charle} T , I believe Sherman has set the river on fire." 
44 Reckon not," replied the other, with the same in- 
difference ; 44 if he has, it's all right." And so they 
pass along ; obeying orders, not knowing what is 
before them, but believing in their leader. 

From Kingston to Atlanta the rails have been taken 
up on the road, fires built about them, and the iron 
twisted into all sorts of curves ; thus they are left, never 



204 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



to be straightened again. The Rebel inhabitants are 
in agon}^ of wonder at all this queer manoeuvring. It 
appears as if we intended evacuating Atlanta ; but our 
troops are taking the wrong direction for the hopes and 
purposes of these people. 

Atlanta is entirely deserted by human beings, except- 
ing a few soldiers here and there. The houses are 
vacant ; there is no trade or traffic of any kind ; the 
streets are empty. Beautiful roses bloom in the gar- 
dens of fine houses, but a terrible stillness and solitude 
cover all, depressing the hearts even of those who are 
glad to destroy it. In the peaceful homes at the North 
there can be no conception how these people have suf- 
fered for their crimes. — Capt. Nichols. 

BREAKING CAMP. 

The order of march is issued by the army command- 
ers the preceding night, from them to the corps com- 
manders, and then pass along until every soldier, 
teamster, and camp-follower knows that an early start 
is to be made. " The second division will be on the 
Milledgeville road promptly at five o'clock," reads an 
order, by wa} T of instance. 

At three o'clock the watch-fires are burning dimly, 
and, but for the occasional neighing of horses, all is so 
silent that it is difficult to imagine that twenty thousand 
men are within a radius of a few miles. The ripple of 
the brook can be distinctly heard as it breaks over the 
pebbles, or winds petulantly about the gnarled roots. 
The wind sweeping gently through the tall pines over- 
head only serves to lull to deeper repose the slumbering 
soldier, who in his tent is dreaming of his far-off North- 
ern home. 

But in an instant all is changed. From some com- 
manding elevation the clear- toned bugle sounds out the 
reveille, and another and another responds, until the 
startled echoes double and treble the clarion calls. 
Intermingled with this comes the beating of drums, 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



205 



often rattling and jarring on unwilling ears. In a few 
moments the peaceful quiet is replaced by noise and 
tumult, arising from hill and dale, from field and for- 
est. Camp-fires, hitherto extinct or smouldering in 
dull gray ashes, awaken to new life and brilliancy, and 
send forth their sparks high into the morning air. Al- 
though no gleam of sunrise blushes in the east, the 
harmless flames on every side light up the scene, so 
that there is no disorder or confusion. 

The aesthetic aspects of this sudden change do not, 
however, occupy much of the soldier's time. He is 
more practically engaged in getting his breakfast ready. 
The potatoes are frying nicely in the well-larded pan, 
the chicken is roasting delicately on the red-hot coals, 
and grateful fumes from steaming coffee-pots delight 
the nostrils. The animals are not less busy. An am- 
ple supply of corn and huge piles of fodder are greedily 
devoured by these faithful friends of the boj^s in blue, 
and any neglect is quickly made known by the pawing 
of neighing horses and the fearful braying of the mules. 
Amid all is the busy clatter of tongues and tools, — a 
Babel of sound, forming a contrast to the quiet of the 
previous hour as marked as that between peace and 
war. 

Then the animals are hitched into the traces, and the 
droves of cattle relieved from the night's confinement in 
the corral. Knapsacks are strapped, men seize their 
trusty weapons, and as again the bugles sound the note 
of command, the soldiers fall into line and file out upon 
the road, to make another stage of their journey, — • it 
maj T be to win fresh laurels in another victory, or per- 
haps to find a rest which shall only be broken by the 
reveille of the last trump. 

A day's march varies according to the country to be 
traversed or the opposition encountered. If the map 
indicates a stream crossing the path, probably the 
strong party of mounted infantry or of cavahy which 
has been sent forward the day before has found the 
bridges burned, and then the pontoons are pushed on 



206 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



to the front. If a battle is anticipated, the trains are 
shifted to the rear of the centre. Under any circum- 
stances, the divisions having the lead move unencum- 
bered by wagons, and in close fighting trim. The 
ambulances following in the rear of the division are in 
such close proximity as to be available if needed. In 
the rear of each regiment follow the pack-males, laden 
with every kind of camp baggage, including blankets, 
pots, pans, kettles, and all the kitchen-ware needed for 
cooking. Here will be found the led horses, and with 
them the negro servants, who form an important fea- 
ture of the menage. 

Having placed the column upon the road, let us now 
follow that long line of muskets gleaming in the rays of 
the morning sunlight, and ride, heedless of the crack of 
the rifles, to the head of the column. The advance are 
driving a squad of Rebel cavalry before them so fast 
that the march is not in the least impeded. The flank- 
ers spread out, on a line parallel to the leading troops, 
for several hundred yards, more or less, as the occasion 
may require. They search through the swamps and 
forests, ready for any concealed foe, and anxiously 
looking out for any line of works which may have been 
thrown up by the enemy to check our progress. Here 
the general of the division, if a fighting man, is most 
likely to be found ; his experienced eye noting that 
there is no serious opposition, he orders up a brigade 
or another regiment, who, in soldier's phraseology, send 
the Rebel rascals " kiting," and the column moves on. 
A large plantation appears by the road-side. If the 
" bummers " have been ahead, the chances are that it 
has been visited, in which event the interior is apt to 
show evidences of confusion ; but the barns are full of 
corn and fodder, and parties are at once detailed to 
secure and convey the prize to the road-side. As the 
wagons pass along, they are not allowed to halt, but 
the grain or fodder is stuffed into the front and rear of 
the vehicles as they pass, the unhandy operation af- 
fording much amusement to the soldiers, and not un- 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



207 



frequently giving them a poor excuse for swearing as 
well as laughing. 

When the treasure-trove of grain and poultry and 
vegetables has been secured, one man is detailed to 
guard it until the proper wagon comes along. Num- 
bers of these details will be met, who, with proper 
authorit}', ha\ r e started off early in the morning, and 
have struck out miles away from the flank of the 
column. They sit upon some cross-road, surrounded 
with their spoils, — chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, 
pigs, hogs, sheep, calves, nicely-dressed hams, buckets 
full of honey, and pots of fresh white lard. 

A Roman consul, returning with victorious eagles, 
could not wear a more triumphant air than this sol- 
itary guard. The soldiers see it, and gibe him as they 
pass. 

u Say, }T>u thar ! where did }~ou steal them pigs? " 

" Steal ! " is the indignant response ; 44 steal ! — per- 
haps }'OU would like to have one of 4 them 9 pigs 
yourself." 

An officer who is riding along gazes upon the appetiz- 
ing show. He has recently joined, never has been on 
one of Sherman's raids, and does not know that a sol- 
dier will not sell his chickens- for an}' price. 

44 Ah ! a nice pair of ducks }'ou have there, soldier ; 
what will you take for them ? " 

Firmly, but respectfully, the forager makes answer, 
touching his cap the while, 44 They are not in the 
market. We never sell our stuff, sir, — couldn't think 
of it." — CapU Nichols. 

TORPEDOES. 

General Hardee was ahead, between us and Savannah, 
with McLaw's division, and other irregular troops, that 
could not, I felt assured, exceed ten thousand men. I 
caused the fine depot at Millen to be destroyed, and 
other damage clone, and then resumed the march directly 
on Savannah, by the four main roads. The Seventeenth 



208 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Corps (General Blair) followed substantially the rail- 
road, and, along with it, on the 5th of December, I 
reached Ogeechee Church, about lift}' miles from Savan- 
nah, and found there fresh earth-works, which had been 
thrown up byMcLaw's division ; but he must have seen 
that both his flanks were being turned, and prudently 
retreated to Savannah without a fight. All the columns 
then pursued leisurely their march toward Savannah, 
corn and forage becoming more and more scarce, but 
rice-fields beginning to occur along the Savannah and 
Ogeechee Rivers, which proved a good substitute, both 
as food and forage. The weather was fine, the roads 
good, and everything seemed to favor us. Never do I 
recall a more agreeable sensation than the sight of our 
camps by night, lit up by the fires of fragrant pine-knots. 
The trains were all in good order, and the men seemed 
to march their fifteen miles a day as though it were 
nothing. No enemy opposed us, and we could only 
occasionally hear the faint reverberation of a gun to our 
left rear, where we knew that General Kilpatrick was 
skirmishing with Wheeler's cavalry, which persistently 
followed him. But the infantry columns had met with 
no opposition whatsoever. McLaw's division was fall- 
ing back before us, and we occasionally picked up a few 
of his men as prisoners, who insisted that we would 
meet with strong opposition at Savannah. 

On the 8th, as I rode along, I found the column 
turned out of the main road, marching through the fields. 
Close b}', in the corner of a fence, was a group of men 
standing around a handsome young officer, whose foot 
had been blown to pieces by a torpedo planted in the 
road. He was waiting for a surgeon to amputate his 
leg, and told me that he was riding along with the rest 
of his brigade staff of the Seventeenth Corps, when a 
torpedo trodden on by his horse had exploded, killing 
the horse and literally blowing off all the flesh from one 
of his legs. I saw the terrible wound, and made full 
inquiry into the facts. There had been no resistance 
at that point, nothing to give warning of danger, and 



S HERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



209 



the Rebels had planted eight- inch shells in the road, 
with friction matches to explode them by being trodden 
on. This was not war. but murder, and it made me 
very angry. I immediately ordered a lot of Rebel 
prisoners to be brought from the provost-guard, armed 
with picks and spades, and made them march in close 
order along the road, so as to explode their own torpe- 
does, or to discover and dig them up. The}' begged 
hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help 
laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road, 
where it was supposed sunken torpedoes might explode 
at each step, but they found no other torpedoes till 
near Fort McAllister. — Gen. Sherman, 

" SET FLRE TO THE WELL." 

At Sandersville I halted the left wing until I heard 
that the right wing was abreast of us on the railroad. 
During the evening a negro was brought to me, who had 
that day been to the station (Tenille) , about six miles 
south of the town. I inquired of him if there were any 
Yankees there, and he answered, 4i Yes." He described 
in his own way what he had seen. ; * First, there come 
along some cavalry-men. and they burned the depot; 
then come along some infantry-men, and they tore up 
the track, and burned it " ; and just before he left 
they had 1 ' sot fire to the well " ! 

The next morning, viz. the 27th, I rode down to the 
station, and found General Corse's division (of the 
Fifteenth Corps) engaged in destroying the railroad, 
and saw the well which my negro informant had seen 
"burnt." It was a square pit about twenty-five feet 
deep, boarded up, with wooden steps leading to the 
bottom, wherein was a fine copper pump, to lift the 
water to a tank above. The soldiers had broken up 
the pump, heaved in the steps and lining, and set fire 
to the mass of lumber in the bottom of the well, which 
corroborated the negro's description. — Gen. Sherman. 

14 



210 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



MAKCH THROUGH THE PINES. 

All da} T long the army has been moving through 
magnificent pine woods. I have never seen, and I can- 
not conceive, a more picturesque sight. The pines, 
destitute of branches, rise .to a height of eighty or 
ninet} T feet, their tops being crowned with tufts of pure 
green. They are widely apart, so that frequently two 
trains of wagons and troops in double column are 
marching abreast. In the distance may be seen a 
troop of horsemen, — some general and his staff, — 
turning about here and there, their gay uniforms and 
red and white flags contrasting harmoniously with the 
bright }~ellow grass underneath and the deep evergreen. 
War has its romance and its pleasures, and nothing 
could be more delightful, nor can there be more beauti- 
ful subjects for the artist's pencil, than a thousand 
sights which have met my eye for days past, and 
which can never be seen outside the army. There is, 
by the way, a most excellent artist accompanying the 
expedition, who is working for the Harpers. His 
sketches are artistically executed, and he has the gen- 
uine spirit of an artist in his choice of subject ; but I 
would have wished that Johnson, Hennesse} T , or Ken- 
sett might have been here also, to give us in enduring 
colors scenes now passing away, which belong to the 
history of the great day in which we live. 

The most pathetic scenes occur upon our line of 
march daily and hourly. Thousands of negro women 
join the column, some carrying household goods, and 
many of them carrying children in their arms, while 
older bo}^s and girls plod by their side. All these wo- 
men and children are ordered back, heart-rending 
though it may be to refuse them liberty. One begs 
that she may go to see her husband and children at Sa- 
vannah. Long years ago she was forced from him 
and sold. Another has heard that her boy was in 
Macon, and she is " done gone with grief goin' on four 
years." 



SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



211 



But the majority accept the advent of the Yankees as 
the fulfilment of the millennial prophecies. The " day 
of jubilee," the hope and prayer of a lifetime, has come. 
They cannot be made to understand that they must 
remain behind, and they are satisfied only when Gen- 
eral Sherman tells them, as he does every day, that we 
shall come back for them some time, and that they 
must be patient until the proper hour of deliverance 
arrives. 

The other day a woman with a child in her arms was 
working her way along among the teams and crowds of 
cattle and horsemen. An officer called to her kindly, 
" Where are you going, aunt}'? " 

She looked up into his face with a hopeful, beseech- 
ing look, and replied, " I'se gwine whar you'se gwine, 
massa." — Capt. Nichols. 

FORT MCALLISTER. 

About two p. m. we observed signs of commotion in 
the fort, and noticed one or two guns fired inland, and 
some musket-skirmishing in the woods close b}^. 

This betokened the approach of Hazen's division, 
which had been anxiously expected, and soon there- 
after the signal officer discovered, about three miles 
above the fort, a signal flag, with which he conversed, 
and found it to belong to General Hazen, who was pre- 
paring to assault the fort, and wanted to know if I were 
there. On being assured of this fact, and that I expected 
the fort to be carried before night, I received by signal 
the assurance of General Hazen that he was making his 
preparations, and would soon attempt the assault. The 
sun was rapidly declining, and I was dreadfully impa- 
tient. 

At that very moment some one discovered a faint 
cloud of smoke, and an object gliding, as it were, along 
the horizon above the tops of the sedge toward the sea, 
which, little by little, grew till it was pronounced to be 
the smoke-stack of a steamer coming up the river. 6 i It 



212 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS, 



must be one of our squadron ! " Soon the flag of the 
United States was plainly visible, and our attention 
was divided between this approaching steamer and the 
expected assault. When the sun was about an hour 
high, another signal message came from General Hazen 
that he was all ready, and I replied to go ahead, as a 
friendly steamer was approaching from below. Soon 
we made out a group of officers on the deck of this ves- 
sel, signalling with a flag, " Who are you? " The an- 
swer went back promptly, " General Sherman." Then 
followed the question, " Is Fort McAllister taken ? " 
" Not 3^et, but' it will be in a minute ! " Almost at that 
instant of time, we saw Hazen's troops come out of the 
dark fringe of woods that encompassed the fort, the 
lines dressed as on parade, with colors frying, and 
moving forward with a quick steady pace. Fort Mc- 
Allister was then all alive, its big guns belching forth 
dense clouds of smoke, which soon enveloped our as- 
saulting lines. One color went down, but was up in a 
moment. On the lines advanced, faintly seen in the 
white, sulphurous smoke; there was a pause, a cessa- 
tion of fire ; the smoke cleared awa}-, and the parapets 
were blue with our men, who fired their muskets in the 
air, and shouted so that we actually heard them, or 
felt that we did. Fort McAllister was taken, and the 
good news was instantly sent by the signal officer to 
our navy friends on the approaching gun-boat, for a 
point of timber had shut out Fort McAllister from their 
view, and they had not seen the action at all, but must 

have heard the cannonading 

The fort was an enclosed work, and its land front was 
in the nature of a bastion and curtains, with good par- 
apet, ditch, fraise, and chevaux-de-frise, made out of 
the large branches of live-oaks. Luckily, the Rebels 
had left the larger and unwieldy trunks on the ground, 
which served as a good cover for the skirmish line, 
which crept behind these logs, and from them kept the 
artillerists from loading and firing their guns accu- 
rately. 




SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 213 



The assault had been made by three parties in line, 
one from below, one from above the fort, and the third 
directly in rear, along the capital. All were simulta- 
neous, and had to pass a good abatis and line of tor- 
pedoes, which actually killed more of the assailants 
than the heavy guns of the fort, which generally over- 
shot the mark. Hazen's entire loss was reported, killed 
and wounded, ninet}'-two. Each party reached the 
parapet about the same time, and the garrison inside, 
of about two hundred and fifty men (about fifty of 
them killed or wounded) , were in his power. — Gen. 
Sherman. 

December 13th. — Fort McAllister is ours. Tt has 
been gallantly and bravely won. I saw the heroic 
assault from the point of observation selected by Gen- 
eral Sherman at the adjacent rice-mill. 

During the greater part of to-day the General gazed 
anxiously toward the sea, watching for the appearance 
of the fleet. About the middle of the afternoon he 
descried a light column of smoke creeping lazily along 
over the flat marshes, and soon the spars of a steamer 
were visible, and then the flag of our Union floated out. 
What a thrilling, jo} ful sight ! How the blood bounded, 
when, answering the signal waved above us, we saw 
that the brave tars had recognized us, and knew that 
our General was here with his army ! 

The sun was now fast going down behind a grove of 
water-oaks, and as his last rays gilded the earth, all eyes 
once more turned toward the Rebel fort. Suddenly 
white puffs of smoke shot out from the thick woods 
surrounding the line of works. Hazen was closing in, 
ready for the final rush of his column directly upon the 
fort. A warning answer came from the enemy in the 
roar of heavy artillery, — and so the battle opened. 

General Sherman walked nervously to and fro, turn- 
ing quickly now and then from viewing the scene of 
conflict to observe the sun sinking slowly behind the 
tree-tops. No longer willing to bear the suspense, he 



214 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



said, " Signal General Hazen that he must carry the 
fort by assault, to-night, if possible." 

The little flag waved and fluttered in the evening air, 
and the answer came, " I' am read}', and will assault at 
once ! " 

The words had hardly passed when from out the 
encircling woods there came a long line of blue coats 
and bright bayonets, and the dear old flag was there, 
waving proudly in the breeze. Then the fort seemed 
alive with flame ; quick, thick jets of fire shooting out 
from all its sides, while the white smoke first covered 
the place and then rolled away over the glacis. The 
line of blue moved steadily on ; too slowly, as it seemed 
to us. for we exclaimed. u Why don't they dash for- 
ward ? " but their measured step was unfaltering. Now 
the flag goes down, but the line does not halt. A 
moment longer, and the banner gleams again in the 
front. We, the lookers-on, clutched one another's arms 
convulsively, and scarcely breathed in the eager inten- 
sity of our gaze. Sherman stood watching with anx- 
ious air. awaiting the decisive moment. Then the 
enemy's fire redoubled in rapidity and violence. The 
darting streams of fire alone told the position of the 
fort. The line of blue entered the enshrouding folds of 
smoke. The flag was at last dimly seen, and then it 
w ent out of sight altogether. 

The}* have been repulsed ! " said one of the group 
of officers who watched the fight. 

u No, by heaven ! " said another; "there is not a 
man in retreat, — not a straggler in all the glorious 
line ! " 

The firing ceased. The wind lifted the smoke. 
Crowds of men were visible on the parapets, fiercely 
fighting, — but our flag was planted there. There 
were a few scattering musket-shots, and then the sounds 
of battle ceased. Then the bomb-proofs and parapets 
were alive with crowding swarms of our gallant men, 
who fired their pieces in the air for a feu de joie. — 
Capt. Nichols, 



/SHERMAN'S GREAT MARCH. 



215 



SAVANNAH. 

An incident connected with our occupation of Sa- 
vannah illustrates the watchfulness and daring of our 
officers and soldiers. Colonel Barnum, of New York, 
commanding a brigade in the Twentieth Corps, a brave 
soldier, who bears scars and unhealed wounds from 
many a battle-field, was in command in the immediate 
front upon our extreme left, and near midnight crept 
out beyond his picket lines, which were only three hun- 
dred yards from the Rebel works. Not hearing the 
voices of the enemy, and not seeing their forms pass- 
ing before their camp-fires, he suspected that they had 
evacuated their lines, notwithstanding he could hear 
the boom of their guns, which echoed through the dark 
forests away off to the right. He selected ten of his 
best men, and cautiously scaled the parapets of the 
outside Rebel line ; passing rapidly and silent ly from 
these to the fortifications from whose bastions frowned 
the black muzzles of ponderous sixty-four-pounders. 
Although their camp-fires still burned brightly, no 
Rebels were to be seen. Sending back for reinforce- 
ments, he marched from earth-work to earth-work, and 
finally entered the city just as the earl}" morning light 
appeared in the eastern horizon ; while the forms of the 
retreating enemy could be seen flying into the gray 
mist across the marshes on the other side of the river. 
— Capt. Nichols. 



CHAPTER XII. 



NASHVILLE. 



OU remember how it tells, in the last chap- 



ter, that Sherman sent a couple of corps up 
to Thomas, at Nashville, and how he trusted to 
Thomas to keep Hood away from his own rear. 
This chapter is to show how Thomas attacked 
Hood in his lines before Nashville, and drove him, 
broken and defeated, beyond the Tennessee. 

GEN. GRANT DESCRIBES THE CAMPAIGN IN BRIEF. 

Hood, instead of following Sherman, continued his 
move northward, which seemed to me to be leading 
to his certain doom. At all events, had I had the 
power to command both armies, I should not have 
changed the orders under which he seemed to be act- 
ing. On the 24th of October, the advance of Hood's 
army attacked the garrison at Decatur. Ala., but, fail- 
ing to carry the place, withdrew toward Courtland, and 
succeeded, in the face of our .cavalry, in effecting a 
lodgment on the north side of the Tennessee River, 
near Florence. On the 28th, Forrest reached the 
Tennessee, at Fort Hiemati, and captured a gun-boat 
and three transports. On the 2d of November, he 
planted batteries above and below Johnsonville, on 
the opposite side of the river, isolating three gun- 
boats and eight transports. On the 4th, the enemy 




NASHVILLE. 217 

opened his batteries upon the place, and was replied to 
from the gun-boats and the garrison. The gun-boats, 
becoming disabled, were set on fire, as also were the 
transports, to prevent their falling into the hands of 
the enemy. About a million and a half dollars' worth 
of stores and property, on the levee and in storehouses, 
was consumed by fire. On the 5th, the enemy dis- 
appeared and crossed to the north side of the Tennes- 
see River, above Johnsonville, moving toward Clifton, 
and subsequently joined Hood. On the night of the 
5th, General Schofield, with the advance of the Twent}*- 
third Corps, reached Johnsonville, but, finding the 
enemy gone, was ordered to Pulaski, and put in com- 
mand of all the troops there, with instructions to watch 
the movements of Hood, and retard his advance, but 
not to risk a general engagement until the arrival of 
General A. J. Smith's command from Missouri, and 
until General Wilson could get his cavalry remounted. 

On the 19th, General Hood continued his advance. 
General Thomas, retarding him as much as possible, 
fell back toward Nashville for the purpose of concen- 
trating his command, and gaining time for the arrival 
of reinforcements. The enemy coming up with our 
main force, commanded by General Schofield, at Frank- 
lin, on the 30th, assaulted our works repeatedly during 
the afternoon until late at night, but were in every in- 
stance repulsed. His loss in this battle was 1,750 
killed, 702 prisoners, and 3,800 wounded. Among 
his losses were six general officers killed, six wounded, 
and one captured. Our entire loss was 2,300. This 
was the first serious opposition the enemy met with, 
and, I am satisfied, was the fatal blow to all his ex- 
pectations. During the night, General Schofield fell 
back toward Nashville. This left the field to the 
enemy, — not lost by the battle, but voluntarily aban- 
doned, — so that General Thomas's whole force might 
be brought together. The enenrv followed up, and 
commenced the establishment of his line in front of 
Nashville on the 2d of December. 



218 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



As soon as it was ascertained that Hood was cross- 
ing the Tennessee River, and that Price was going out 
of Missouri, General Rosecrans was ordered to send 
to General Thomas the troops of General A. J. Smith's 
command and such other troops as he could spare. 
The advance of this reinforcement reached Nashville 
on the 30th of November. 

On the morning of the 15th of December General 
Thomas attacked Hood in position, and, in a battle 
lasting two days, defeated and drove him from the field 
in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands most of 
his artillery and many thousand prisoners, including 
four general officers. 

Before the battle of Nashville, I grew very impatient 
over, as it appeared to me, the unnecessary delay. 
This impatience was increased upon learning that the 
enemy had sent a force of cavalry across the Cumber- 
land into Kentucky. I feared Hood would cross his 
whole army and give us great trouble there. After 
urging upon General Thomas the necessity of immedi- 
ately assuming the offensive, I started West to super- 
intend matters there in person. Reaching Washington 
City, I received General Thomas's despatch announcing 
his attack upon the enem} T , and the result as far as the 
battle had progressed. 1 was delighted. All fears and 
apprehensions were dispelled. I am not yet satisfied 
but that General Thomas, immediately upon the appear- 
ance of Hood before Nashville, and before he had time 
to fortify, should have moved out with his whole force 
and given him battle, instead of waiting to remount his 
cavalry, which delayed him until the inclemency of the 
weather made it impracticable to attack earlier than he 
did. But his final defeat of Hood was so complete, 
that it will be accepted as a vindication of that distin- 
guished officer's judgment. — Gen. Grant. 

As Hood was marching north from Florence, 
Schofield was also marching from Pulaski, and 



NASHVILLE. 



219 



there was some question which would first reach 
Franklin, where their roads converged. At one 
time, Hood was ahead, and would have cut Scho- 
field off from Nashville, had not Schofield, by a 
brilliant night march, with all his trains and his 
whole army, passed within half a mile of Hood's 
camp without arousing him. The next morning 
he woke to find Schofield intrenched in front of 
him, ready to repulse his whole army in the battle 
of Franklin. 

THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 

On the morning of the 15th of December, the weather 
being favorable, the army was formed and ready at an 
early hour to carry out the plan of battle promulgated 
in the Special Field Order of the 14th. The for- 
mation of the troops was partially concealed from the 
enemy by the broken nature of the ground, as also b}^ a 
dense fog, which only lifted toward noon. The enemy 
was apparently totally unaware of any intention on our 
part to attack his position, and more especially did he 
seem not to expect am T movement against his left flank. 
To divert his attention still further from our real inten- 
tions, Major-General Steedman had, on the evening of 
the 14th, received orders to make a heaiw demonstra- 
tion with his command against the enemy's right, east 
of the Nolens ville pike, which he accomplished with 
great success, and some loss, succeeding, however, in 
attracting the enemy's attention to that part of his line 
and inducing him to draw reinforcements from toward 
his centre and left. 

THE MAIN ATTACK BY OUB, LEFT. 

As soon as General Steedman had completed his 
movement the commands of Generals Smith and Wil- 



220 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



son moved out along the Harding pike, and commenced 
the grand movement of the day by wheeling to the left 
and advancing against the enemy's position across the 
Harding and Hillsboro' pikes. A division of cavalry 
(Johnson's) was sent at the same time to look after a 
battery of the enemy's on the Cumberland River at Bell's 
Landing, eight miles below Xashville. General Johnson 
did not get into position until late in the afternoon, when, 
in conjunction with the gun-boats under Lieut. -Com- 
mander Le Roy Fitch, the enemy's battery was engaged 
until after nightfall, and the place was found evacuated 
in the morning. The remainder of General Wilson's 
command. Hatch's division leading and Knipe in re- 
serve, moving on the right of General A. J. Smith's 
troops, first struck the enemy along Richland Creek, 
near Harding's house, and drove him back rapidly, cap- 
turing a number of prisoners, wagons, &c, and, con- 
tinuing to advance, while slightly swinging to the left, 
came upon a redoubt containing four guns, which was 
splendidly carried by assault, at one p. m., by a portion 
of Hatch's division, dismounted, and the captured guns 
turned upon the enemy. A second redoubt, stronger 
than the first, was next assailed and carried by the same 
troops that captured the first position, taking four more 
guns and about three hundred prisoners. The infantry, 
Mc Arthur's division of General A. J. Smith's command, 
on the left of the cavalry, participated in both of the above 
assaults, and indeed the dismounted cavalry seemed to 
vie with the infantry who should first gain the works ; 
as they reached the position nearly simultaneously, both 
la}* claim to the artillery and prisoners captured. 

Finding General Smith had not taken as much dis- 
tance to the right as I expected he would have done, I 
directed General Schofield to move his command (the 
Twenty-third Corps) from the position in reserve to 
which it had been assigned over to the right of General 
Smith, enabling the cavalry thereby to operate more 
freely in the enemy's rear. This was rapidly accom- 
plished by General Schofield. and his troops participated 
in the closing operations of the da}*. 



NASHVILLE. 



221 



THE CENTRE. 

The Fourth Corps, Brig. -Gen. T. J. Wood command- 
ing, formed on the left of General A. J. Smith's com- 
mand, and. as soon as the latter had struck the enemy's 
flank, assaulted the Montgomery Hill, Hood's most ad- 
vanced position, at one p. m. The assault was most gal- 
lantly executed by the Third Brigade, Second Division, 
Colonel F. Sidney Post, Fifty-ninth Illinois, command- 
ing, capturing a considerable number of prisoners. 
Connecting with the left of Smith's troops (Brigadier- 
General Garrard's division) , the Fourth Corps continued 
to advance, and carried the enemy's entire line in its 
front by assault, and captured several pieces of artillery, 
about five hundred prisoners, some stands of colors, and 
other material. The enenry was driven out of his origi- 
nal line of works and forced back to a new position along 
the base of Harpeth Hills, still holding his line of retreat 
to Franklin by the main pike through Brentwood and 
by the Granny White pike. Our line at nightfall was re- 
adjusted, running parallel to and east of the Hillsboro' 
pike, — Schofield's command on the right. Smith's in the 
centre, and Wood's on the left, with the cavalry on the 
right of Schofielcl, — Steedman holding the position he 
had gained early in the morning. 

The total result of the day's operations was the cap- 
ture of sixteen pieces of artillery and 1,200 prisoners, 
besides several hundred stand of small arms and about 
forty wagons. The enemy had been forced back at all 
points with heavy loss, and our casualties were unusually 
light. The behavior of the troops was unsurpassed for 
steadiness and alacrity in every movement, and the 
original plan of battle, with but few alterations, strictly 
adhered to. 

The whole command bivouacked in line of battle 
during the night on the ground occupied at dark, while 
preparations were made to renew the battle at an early 
hour on the morrow. 



222 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



THE NEXT DAY'S BATTLE. 

At six a. m. , on the 16th, Wood's corps pressed 
back the enemy's skirmishers across the Franklin pike 
to the eastward of it, and then, swinging slightly to the 
right, advanced due south from Nashville, driving the 
enemy before him until he came upon his new main line 
of works, constructed during the night, on what is called 
Overton's Hill, about five miles south of the city and 
east of the Franklin pike. General Steedman moved 
out from Nashville by the Nolensville pike, and formed 
his command on the left of General Wood, effectually 
securing the hitter's left flank, and made preparations 
to co-operate in the operations of the day. General A. 
J. Smith's command moved on the right of the Fourth 
Corps (Wood's) , and, establishing connection with Gen- 
eral Wood's right, completed the new line of battle. 
General Schofield's troops remained in the position 
taken up by them at dark on the day previous, facing 
eastward and toward the enemy's left flank, the line 
of the corps running perpendicular to General Smith's 
troops. General Wilson's cavalry, which had rested for 
the night at the six-mile post on the Hillsboro' pike, 
was dismounted and formed on the right of Schofield's 
command, and by noon of the 16th had succeeded in 
gaining the enenry's rear, and stretched across the 
Granny White pike, one of his two outlets toward 
Franklin. 

As soon as the above dispositions were completed, 
and having visited the different commands, I gave 
directions that the movement against the enemy's left; 
flank should be continued. Our entire line approached 
to within six hundred yards of the enemy's at all points. 
His centre was weak as compared with either his right, 
at Overton's Hill, or his left, on the hills bordering the 
Granny White pike : still I had hopes of gaining his 
rear and cutting off his retreat from Franklin. 

About three p. m. Post's brigade of Wood's Corps, 
supported by Streight's brigade of the same command.; 



NASHVILLE. 



223 



was ordered by General Wood to assault Overton's Hill. 
This intention was communicated to General Steedman. 
who ordered the brigade of colored troops commanded 
by Colonel Morgan (Fourteenth United States colored 
troops) to co-operate in the movement. The ground 
on which the two assaulting columns formed being open 
and exposed to the enemy's view, he, readily perceiving 
our intention, drew reinforcements from his left and 
centre to the threatened point. This movement of 
troops on the part of the enemy was communicated 
along the line from left to right. 

The assault was made, and received by the enemy 
with a tremendous fire of grape, canister, and mus- 
ketry, our men moving steadily onward up the hill until 
near the crest, when the reserves of the enemy rose and 
poured into the assaulting column a most destructive 
fire, causing the men first to waver and then to fall 
back, leaving their dead and w^ounded — black and 
white indiscriminately mingled — lying amid the abatis, 
the gallant Colonel Post among the wounded. General 
Wood readily re-formed his command in the position 
it had previously occupied, preparatory to a renewal 
of the assault. 

THE THIRD SUCCESS. 

Immediately following the effort of the Fourth Corps, 
Generals Smith's and Schofield's commands moved 
against the enemy's works in their respective fronts, 
carrying all before them, irreparably breaking his lines 
in a dozen places, and capturing all of his artillery and 
thousands of prisoners, among the latter four general 
officers. Our loss was remarkably small, scarcely men- 
tionable. All of the enemy that did escape were pur- 
sued over the tops of Brentwood or Harpeth Hills. 

General Wilson's cavalry, dismounted, attacked the 
enemy simultaneously with Schofield and Smith, strik- 
ing him in reverse, and, gaining firm possession of the 
Granny White pike, cut off his retreat by that route. 



224 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



THE EOUT. 

Wood's and Steedman's troops hearing the shouts 
of victoiy coming from the right, rushed impetuously 
forward, renewing the assault on Overton's Hill, and, 
although meeting a very heavy fire, the onset was irre- 
sistible, artillery and innumerable prisoners falling into 
our hands. The enemy, hopelessly broken, fled in con- 
fusion through the Brentwood pass, the Fourth Corps in 
a close pursuit, which was continued for several miles, 
when darkness closed the scene and the troops rested 
from their labors. 

As the Fourth Corps pursued the enemy on the 
Franklin pike, General Wilson hastily mounted Knipe's 
and Hatch's division of his command, and directed them 
to pursue along the Granny White pike and endeavoi 
to reach Franklin in advance of the enemy. After pro- 
ceeding about a mile they came upon the enemy's cav- 
alry under Chalmers, posted across the road and behind 
barricades. The position was charged by the Twelfth 
Tennessee Cavalry, Colonel Spalding commanding, and 
the enemy's lines broken, scattering him in all direc- 
tions, and capturing quite a number of prisoners, among 
them Brig. -Gen. E. W. Rucker. 

During the two days' operations there were 4,462 
prisoners captured, including 287 officers of all grades 
from that of major-general, fifty-three pieces of artil- 
lery, and thousands of small arms. The enemy aban- 
doned on the field all of his dead and wounded. 

Leaving directions for the collection of the captured 
property, and for the care of the wounded left on the 
battle-field, the pursuit was continued at daylight on 
the 17th. The Fourth Corps pushed on toward Frank- 
lin b}' the direct pike, while the cavalry moved by the 
Granny White Pike to its intersection with the Frank- 
lin pike, and then took the advance. 



NASHVILLE. 



225 



THE PURSUIT. 

Johnson's division of cavalry was sent by General 
Wilson direct to Harpeth River, on the Hillsboro' pike, 
with directions to cross and move rapidly toward Frank- 
lin. The main cavalrj' column, with Knipe's division in 
advance, came up with the enemy's rear-guard strongly 
posted at Hollow Tree Gap, four miles north of Frank- 
lin ; the position was charged in front and in flank 
simultaneousl}*, and handsomely carried, capturing four 
hundred and thirteen prisoners and three colors. The 
enemy then fell back rapidly to Franklin, and endeav- 
ored to defend the crossing of Harpeth River at that 
place ; but Johnson's division, coming up from below on 
the south side of the stream, forced him to retire from 
the river bank, and our cavalry took possession of the 
town, capturing the enemy's hospitals, containing over 
two thousand wounded, of whom about two hundred 
were our own men. — Maj.-Gen. Thomas. 



15 



CHAPTER XIII. 



SIEGE OF RICHMOND. — THE LAST WEEK. 



FTER General Grant had crossed the James 



River and united his army with General But- 
ler's, in the summer of 1864, he spent the rest of 
that year and the months of winter in closer and 
closer approaches upon Richmond and Petersburg. 
These two cities were united by a railroad, so that 
they supported each other ; and the hardest fight- 
ing done was, in fact, before Petersburg. The 
whole effort, however, was popularly called 44 the 
Siege of Richmond," though Richmond was never 
besieged. It always drew provisions from the 
west by the Southside Railroad, and other roads 
through the valley of James River. 

The lines of the Union army and those of the 
Rebels at Petersburg came closer and closer. In 
many bloody battles, Grant pushed his left wing 
farther and farther to the west, cutting off the 
line of the Weldon Railroad. The deep quagmires 
which are called roads in Virginia, as in so many 
years before, defended her capital so long as winter 
lasted. But with the opening of spring the end 




SIEGE OF RICHMOND. 



221 



came. It was all like the arrangement by which 
a great player finishes a game at chess. 

On the 24th of March, General Grant issued his 
orders, without any " ifs " or "perhapses," for the 
" general movement." They were addressed to 
General Meade, General Ord, and General Sheri- 
dan. They began, — " Generals, on the 29th in- 
stant, the armies operating against Richmond will 
be moved by our left, for the double purpose of 
turning the enemy out of his present position 
around Petersburg, and to insure the success of 
the cavalry, under General Sheridan, which will 
start at the same time in its efforts to reach and 
destroy the Southside and Danville railroads." 

These are just such rules as a head of a family 
might give about a " moving," — that this cart 
should come at this time, that cart at another, and 
such and such a boy be ready at the new house to 
tell where the furniture should go. There is just 
that confidence that what is ordered will be done. 

General Grant's report of the result shall be 
copied first. 

THE ARMY MARCHES. 

I had spent days of anxiety lest each morning should 
bring the report that the enemy had retreated the night 
before. I was firmly convinced that Sherman's crossing 
the Roanoke would be the signal for Lee to leave. With 
Johnston and him combined, a long, tedious and expen- 
sive campaign, consuming most of the summer, might 
become necessary. By moving out I would put the 



228 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



army in better condition for pursuit, and would at least, 
hy the destruction of the Danville road, retard the con- 
centration of the two armies of Lee and Johnston, and 
cause the enemy to abandon much material that he 
might otherwise save. I therefore determined not to 
delay the movement ordered. 

On the night of the 27th, Major-General Ord, with two 
divisions of the Twenty-fourth Corps, Major-General 
Gibbon commanding, and one division of the Twent} T - 
fifth Corps, Brigadier-General Birney commanding, and 
McKenzie's cavalry, took up his line of march in pursu- 
ance of the foregoing instructions, and reached the posi- 
tion assigned him near Hatcher's Run on the morning 
of the 29th. On the 28th, the following instructions 
were given to General Sheridan : — 

City Point, Va., March 28, 1865. 

General: — The Fifth Army Corps will move by the Vaughn 
road at 3 a. m. to-morrow morning. The Second moves at about 
9 a. m. having but about three miles to march to reach the point des- 
ignated for it to take on the right of the Fifth Corps, after the latter 
reaching Dinwiddie Court-House. Move your cavalry at as early 
an hour as you can, and without being confined to any particular 
road or roads. You may go out by the nearest roads in rear of 
the Fifth Corps, pass by its left, and, passing near to or through 
Dinwiddie, reach the right and rear of the enemy as soon as you 
can. It is not the intention to attack the enemy in his intrenched 
position, but to force him out, if possible. Should he come out 
and attack us, or get himself where he can be attacked, move in 
with your entire force in your own way, and with the full reliance 
that the army will engage or follow, as circumstances will dictate. 
I shall be on the field, and will probably be able to communicate 
with you. Should I not do so, and you find that the enemy keeps 
within his main intrenched line, you may cut loose and push for 
the Danville road. If you find it practicable, I would like you to 
cross the Southside road, between Petersburg and Burkesville, 
and destroy it to some extent. I would not advise much deten- 
tion, however, until you reach the Danville road, which I would 
like you to strike as near to the Appomattox as possible. Make 
your destruction on that road as complete as possible. You can 
then pass on to the Southside road, west of Burkesville, and de- 
stroy that, in like manner. 

After having accomplished the destruction of the two railroads, 
which are now the only avenues of supply to Lee's army, you may 
return to this army, selecting your road further south, or you may 



THE LAST WEEK. 



229 



go on into North Carolina and join General Sherman. Should you 
select the latter course, get the information to me as early as 
possible, so that I may send orders to meet you at Goldsboro'. 

U. S. Grant, Lieut.- Gen. 

Maj.-Gen. P. H. Sheridan. 

On the morning of the 29th, the movement commenced. 
At night the cavalry was at Dinwiddie Court-House, and 
the left of our infantry line extended to the Quaker road, 
near its intersection with the BojTlton plank-road. The 
position of the troops from left to right was as follows : 
Sheridan, Warren, Humphi^vs, Orel, Wright, Parke. 

Everything looked favorable to the defeat of the 
enemy and the capture of Petersburg and Richmond, 
if the proper effort was made. I therefore addressed 
the following communication to General Sheridan, hav- 
ing previously informed him verbally not to cut loose 
for the raid contemplated in his orders until he received 
notice from me to do so : 

Gravelly Creek, March 29. 1865. 
General : — Our line is now unbroken from the xlppomattox to 
Dinwiddie. We are all ready, however, to give up all, from the 
Jerusalem plank-road to Hatcher's Run, whenever the forces can 
be used advantageously. After getting into line south of Hatcher's 
we push forward to find the enemy's position. General Griffin 
was attacked near where the Quaker road intersects the Boydton 
road, but repulsed it easily, capturing about one hundred men. 
Humphreys reached Dabney's Mill, and was pushing on when last 
heard from. 

I now feel like ending the matter, if it is possible to do so, before 
going back. I do not want you, therefore, to cut loose and go after 
the enemy's roads at present. In the morning push around the 
enemy, if you can, and get on to his right rear. The movements 
of the enemy's cavalry may, of course, modify your action. We 
will act all together as one army here until it is seen what can be 
done with the enemy. The signal officer at Cobb's Hill reported, 
at 11.30 A. M., that a cavalry column had passed that point from 
Richmond towards Petersburg, taking forty minutes to pass. 

U. S. Grant, IJeut.-Gen. 

Maj.-Gen. P. H. Sheridan. 

From the night of the 29th to the morning of the 31st 
the rain fell in such torrents as to make it impossible to 
move a wheeled vehicle, except as corduroy roads were 



230 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



laid in front of them. During the 30th. Sheridan ad- 
vanced from Dinwiddie Court-House toward Five Forks, 
where he found the enemy iu force. General Warren 
advanced and extended his line across the Boydton plank- 
road to near the White Oak road, with a view of getting 
across the latter : but finding the enemy strong in his 
front, and extending beyond his left, was directed to hold 
on where he was and fortify. General Humphreys 
drove the enemy from his front into his main line on the 
Hatcher, near Burgess's mills. Generals Ord, Wright, 
and Parke made examinations in their fronts to deter- 
mine the feasibility of an assault on the enemy's lines. 
The two latter reported favorably. The enemy con- 
fronting us. as he did at every point from Richmond to 
our extreme left, I conceived his lines must be weakly 
held, and could be penetrated if my estimate of his 
forces was correct. I determined, therefore, to extend 
my line no further, but to reinforce General Sheridan 
with a corps of infantry, and thus enable him to cut 
loose and turn the enemy's right flank, and with the 
other corps assault the enemy's lines. The result of 
the offensive effort of the enemy the week before, when 
he assaulted Fort Steadman, particularly favored this. 
The enemy's intrenched picket line, captured by us at 
that time, threw the lines occupied by the belligerents so 
close together at some points, that it was but a moment's 
run from one to the other. Preparations were at once 
made to relieve General Humphreys's corps, to report to 
General Sheridan ; but the condition of the roads pre- 
vented immediate movement. On the morning of the 
,31st General Warren reported favorably to getting pos- 
session of the White Oak road, and was directed to do 
so. To accomplish this he moved with one division, 
instead of his whole corps, which was attacked by the 
enemy in superior force, and driven back on the second 
division, before it had time to form, and it, in turn, 
forced back upon the third division, when the enemy 
was checked. A division of the Second Corps was im- 
mediately sent to his support, the enemy driven back 



THE LAST WEEK. 



231 



with heavy loss, and possession of White Oak road 
gained. Sheridan advanced, and with a portion of his 
cavalry got possession of the Five Forks, but the enemy, 
after the affair with the Fifth Corps, reinforced the Rebel 
cavalry, defending that point with infantry, and forced 
him back toward Dinwiddie Court-House. Here Gen- 
eral Sheridan displayed great generalship. Instead of 
retreating with his whole command on the main army, to 
tell the stoiy of superior forces encountered, he deployed 
his cavalry on foot, leaving only mounted men enough to 
take charge of the horses. This compelled the enenry to 
deploy over a vast extent of woods and broken country, 
and made his progress slow. At this juncture he de- 
spatched to me what had taken place, and that he was 
dropping back slowbr on Dinwiddie Court-House. Gen- 
eral McKenzie's cavalry and one division of the Fifth 
Corps were immediately ordered to his assistance. Soon 
after, receiving a report from General Meade that Hum- 
phrey's could hold our position on the Boydton road, and 
that the other two divisions of the Fifth Corps could go 
to Sheridan, the\ T w^ere so ordered at once. Thus the 
operations of the day necessitated the sending of War- 
ren because of his accessibility, instead of Humphreys, 
as was intended, and precipitated intended movements. 
On the morning of the 1st of April, General Sheridan, 
reinforced by General Warren, drove the enemy back 
on Five Forks, where, late in the evening, he assaulted 
and carried his strongly fortified position, capturing all 
his artille^ and between five and six thousand prisoners. 
About the close of this battle, Brevet Major-General 
Charles Griffin relieved Major-General Warren in com- 
mand of the Fifth Corps. The report of this reached 
me after nightfall. Some apprehensions filled my mind 
lest the enemy might desert his lines during the night, 
and, by falling upon General Sheridan before assistance 
could reach him, drive him from his position, and open 
the way for retreat. To guard against this, General 
Miles's division of Humphre}'s's Corps was sent to rein- 
force him, and a bombardment was commenced and kept 



232 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



up until four o'clock in the morning (April 2), when 
an assault was ordered on the enemy's lines. General 
Wright penetrated the lines with his whole corps, sweep- 
ing eveiything before him and to his left toward Hatch- 
er's Run, capturing many guns and several thousand 
prisoners. He was closely followed by two divisions of 
General Ord's command, until he met the other division 
of General Ord's that had succeeded in forcing the ene- 
my's lines near Hatcher's Run. Generals Wright and 
Orel immediately swung to the right, and closed all the 
enemy on that side of them in Petersburg, while Gen- 
eral Humphreys pushed forward with two divisions and 
joined General Wright on the left. General Parke suc- 
ceeded in carrying the enemy's main line, capturing guns 
and prisoners, but was unable to carry his inner line. 
General Sheridan, being- advised of the condition of 
affairs, returned General Miles to his proper command. 
On reaching the enemj's lines immediately surrounding 
Petersburg, a portion of General Gibbon's corps, by 
a most gallant charge, captured two strong, enclosed 
works, — the most salient and commanding south of 
Petersburg, — thus materially shortening the line of in- 
vestment necessary for taking the city. The enemy 
south of Hatcher's Run retreated westward to Suther- 
land's Station, where they were overtaken by Miles' s di- 
vision. A severe engagement ensued, and lasted until 
both his right and left flanks were threatened by the 
approach of General Sheridan, who w r as moving from 
Ford's Station toward Petersburg, and a division sent 
by General Meade from the front of Petersburg, when 
he broke in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands 
his guns and many prisoners. This force retreated by 
the main road along the Appomattox River. 



THE FLIGHT OF LEE FROM RICHMOND. 

During the night of the 2d the enemy evacuated 
Petersburg and Richmond, and retreated toward Dan- 
ville. On the morning of the 3d, pursuit was com- 



THE LAST WEEK. 



233 



mencecl. General Sheridan pushed for the Danville 
road, keeping near the Appomattox, followed by Gen- 
eral Meade with the Second and Sixth Corps, while 
General Ord moved from Burkesville along the South- 
side road ; the Ninth Corps stretched along that road 
behind him. On the 4th, General Sheridan struck the 
Danville road near Jettersville, where he learned that 
Lee was at Amelia Court-House. He immediately in- 
trenched himself and awaited the arrival of General 
Meade, who reached there the next day. General Ord 
reached Burkesville on the evening of the 5th. 

On the morning of the 5th I addressed Major-Gen. 
Sherman the following communication : — 

Wilson's Station, April 5, 1865. 
General : — All indications now are that Lee will attempt to 
reach Danville with the remnant of his force. Sheridan, who 
was up with him last night, reports all that is left — horse, foot, 
and dragoons — at twenty thousand; much demoralized. We 
hope to reduce this number one half. I shall push on to Burkes- 
ville, and, if a stand is made at Danville, will in a very few days 
go there. If you can possibly do so, push on from where you are, 
and let us see if we cannot finish the job with Lee's and John- 
ston's armies. Whether it will be better for you to strike for 
Greensboro' or nearer to Danville, you will be better able to 
judge when you receive this. Rebel armies now are the only 
strategic points to strike at. 

TJ. S. Grant, Lieutenant- General. 

Maj.-Gen. W. T. Sherman. 

On the morning of the 6th, it was found that General 
Lee was moving west of Jettersville, toward Danville. 
General Sheridan moved with his cavahy, (the Fifth 
Corps having been returned to General Meade on his 
reaching Jettersville,) to strike his flank, followed by 
the Sixth Corps, while the Second and Fifth Corps 
pressed hard after, forcing him to abandon several 
hundred wagons and several pieces of artilleiy. Gen- 
eral Ord advanced from Burkesville toward Farmville, 
sending two regiments of infantry and a squadron of 
cavalry, under Brevet Brig. -Gen. Theodore Read, to 
reach and destroy the bridges. This advance met the 
head of Lee's column near Farmville, which it hero- 



234 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



ically attacked and detained until General Read was 
'killed and his small force overpowered. This caused a 
delay in the enemy's movements, and enabled General 
Orel to get well up with the remainder of his force, on 
meeting which the enemy immediately intrenched him- 
self. In the afternoon General Sheridan struck the 
enemy south of Sailor's Creek, captured sixteen pieces 
of artillery, and about four hundred wagons, and de- 
tained him until the Sixth Corps got up, when a gen- 
.eral attack of infantry and cavalry was made, which 
resulted in the capture of six or seven thousand prison- 
ers, among whom were many general officers. The 
movements of the Second Corps and General Ord's com- 
mand contributed greatly to the day's success. 

On the morning of the 7th, the pursuit was renewed, 
the cavalry, except one division, and the Fifth Corps 
moving by Prince Edward Court-House ; the Sixth 
Corps. General Ord's command, and one division of 
cavalry, on Farmville ; and the Second Corps by the 
High Bridge road. It was soon found that the enemy 
had crossed to the north side of the Appomattox ; but 
so close was the pursuit that the Second Corps got 
possession of the common bridge at High Bridge before 
the enemy could destroy it. and immediately crossed 
over. The Sixth Corps and a division of cavalry 
crossed at Farmville to its support. — Gen. Grant. 

At this point it was so sure that the Rebel chief 
was checkmated, that Grant addressed to him a 
note, which resulted in the surrender at Appomattox 
Court-House. 

It was on the last day of this pursuit that Sheri- 
dan telegraphed to Grant this despatch, which at 
the time excited great attention : — 

LlEETEXAyT-GEXERAL GRANT : 

I have the honor to report that the enemy made a stand at the 
intersection of the Burke's Station road, in the road upon which 
they were retreating. 



THE LAST WEEK. 



235 



I attacked them with two divisions of the Sixth Army Corps, 
and routed them handsomely, making a connection with the 
cavalry. I am still pressing on with both cavalry and infantry. 
Up to the present time we have captured General Ewell, Kershaw, 
Button, Corse, De Barre, and Custis Lee, several thousand prison- 
ers, fourteen pieces of artillery, witli caissons and a large number 
of prisoners. If the thing is pressed, I think Lee will surrender. 

P. H. Sheridan, Major- General commanding. 
City Point, April 7, — 9 a. m. 

It was always said, and probably truly, that the 
answer was, " Press them." 

Now that you have seen how the leader of the 
whole host ordered the array, you shall read how 
one of the accomplished men who make a part of 
it sees the whole. The first extract describes the 
assault on one of the forts at Petersburg, on the 2d 
of April. The description which follows is from 
one of the surgeons who go everywhere with an 
army, and even remain on the field of defeat, if 
need be, and are taken prisoners with the men for 
whom they care. 

STORMING A BATTERY. 

"Battery Gregg," a strong earth-work, was immedi- 
ately in front. It was ours to assault. Could we take 
it, the Rebel line was untenable. 

Our formation was in column by brigade, our own bri- 
gade in advance. The order reached us at about eleven 
o'clock on the 2d of April. Moving directly against 
the work, a terrific fire of musketiy and grape and can- 
ister struck us in front, while shells from all the neigh- 
boring works were directed against our flanks. " When 
within one hundred yards of the work," writes Captain 
Leach, our gallant leader on that day, 44 we were obliged 



236 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



to lie clown, and crawl upon our hands and knees ; the 
enemy all the time pouring grape and canister into our 
ranks at a furious rate." But not a man flinched, al- 
though dead and dying comrades were lying stretched 
upon the ground. The ditch around the fort was 
reached at last, and although the water in it stood waist- 
deep, the brave fellows hesitated not to jump in, and 
scramble up the bank of the fort, vainly attempting to 
rush in en masse, and end the bloody struggle. Soon 
the stars and stripes could be seen floating b\' the side 
of the Rebel flag ; cheer after cheer rent the air, — the 
Eebels fighting with the desperation of madmen, and 
shouting to each other, ki Never surrender! never sur- 
render ! " For twenty-seven minutes we hung upon the 
works, knowing we could not retreat if we wished to. 
One more rush and we were inside the fort, and for a 
minute or two there was a hand-to-hand contest. The 
works were ours; and the garrison, — dead and alive. 
— Gen. Lincoln, Col. 3A(h Mass. 

THE LAST WEEK. 

As I overheard one enlisted man saying to another, 
down on the James, in '62, ki When a man tells me all 
about a battle, — what was done here, and what was 
done there, — I know that he was n't in it. I have been 
in a good many fights ; and I 've always had enough to 
do to take care of myself, without looking around at 
what other people were doing." It is a piece of practi- 
cal wisdom, that the war experience of every one below 
a certain grade will confirm. But, if every one should 
faithfully describe his own square, how the checker- 
board of a campaign might be reconstructed ! One 
difficulty in ordinary description lies in the too general 
impression, that one's own little block is the whole 
board. At Chickamauga, a high-spirited son of a 
prominent Confederate general, although a mere boy, 
held a nominal position on his father's staff. He was 
given charge of a little mountain-howitzer during the 



THE LAST WEEK. 



237 



action, chiefly to keep him out of worse mischief. 
When the day was decided, he rode up exultant : 
" Did you. hear the howitzer, father? Did you hear the 
howitzer, father? " We all are apt to believe that our 
own little howitzers are, or ought to be, heard above 
the roar of the battle. Most of us look upon our per- 
sonal zenith as the celestial pole, around whose axis the 
natural world revolves ; but by an aggregation of obser- 
vations, true astronomical problems are wrought out. 
A stereoscopic view is not to be seen with a single eye ; 
a fraction is not the whole ; but the spatter of the little 
piece is sometimes an epitome of the greater volleys. If 
barely one man in ten, in any battle, should, at its close, 
faithfully note down his own experience, what a mag- 
nificent mosaic might be put together ! We shall never 
know the views of the subalterns in the retreat of the 
Ten Thousand ; nor are there any Commentaries but the 
commander's on the war in Gaul. But what would not 
the world give for a gossip}' journal b}' the chief of some 
syntagma under Xenophon, or by some lively legionary 
of Caesar's ? Suppose that only the generals wrote of the 
Rebellion : we should have abundance of grand strategy, 
but very little of the wayside bivouac. The prominent 
colors would be staring enough ; but we should lose the 
delicate shadings. 

There are many incidents of a march that are inter- 
esting without being vital, — little touches that neither 
make nor mar the picture. This fragment of mosaic is 
contributed as such. 

How glorious was that last week ! The Rebs may 
have enjoyed it slenderly ; but we were filled with new 
life then. The cruel suspense that, mist-like, had 
enshrouded us during the final movement to the left, 
was torn aside by Five Forks and the storming of 
Petersburg. Lee was in retreat ; and we were in full 
cry after him. It was a new and agreeable sensation. 
More than once in former days we had retired from 
before the Rebels. Now, it was a wilder chase than 
ever ; and we were not in front. 



238 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



As everybody knows, the national forces marched in 
two main columns. The Army of the Potomac, under 
Meade, and the ubiquitous Sheridan with his centaurs, 
were directly on the Rebel trail and right ; while Ord, 
with the Army of the James, marched on their left 
tlank along the Lynchburg Railroad, — a moving wall 
to resist their turning southward. Old's first objective 
was Burkesville Junction, to cut oil' the use of the Dan- 
ville Railrcnd, upon which the enemy expected supplies, 
and whose line he intended to follow south, possibly 
hoping to unite with Johnston in the Carolinas. Grant 
started with this column ; and we knew that affairs on 
the northerly line were in the full tide of success, by 
little waifs borne to us from time to time, almost mean- 
ingless singly, but of most excellent omen united. 
How triumphant we felt ! The assault and capture of 
the Cockade City rekindled all the flame that the ashes 
of a ten months' siege had covered but not extinguished. 
A march through its battered streets and its beautiful 
outskirts had deepened the sense of victor}*. The 
balmy air and invigoration of sun and cheerful fields 
of the Virginia spring stirred the physical man ; and 
the very beasts of burden, escaped from plodding 
through the winter's mud, seemed to catch the contagion 
of the march. We were like so many school-boys on a 
holiday. Sick of the restraints of the earth- works' nar- 
row limits, of the monotonous routine of camp, of 
shelling and being shelled, — an occupation that was 
irksome and not edifying, — of the addition of perverse 
columns, whose frequent resultant was disastrous sub- 
traction, we started off with perhaps more than usual 
glee, because directed against no fixed point, but liable 
to wander over half the State before entering a perma- 
nent camp. We were very jolly. We expected one 
sharp fight ; but the spirit of prophecy within us 
announced that the day of retribution for the wicked 
Rebels was at hand, — that we were surely crushing 
the Rebellion. The mother of States and of presidents 
had presided over many solemn marches and stately 



THE LAST WEEK. 



239 



minuets, in which we had been unwilling participants 
during the past four years. We had danced sometimes, 
when the desire was not in us ; we had frequently paid 
the piper when it was inconvenient ; but now we were 
instituting a veritable Virginia Reel, into which we 
entered heart and soul. But no form of words can 
describe our exultation, partly physical from pure ani- 
mal excitement, but chiefly moral from the conscious- 
ness of the speedy triumph of the good cause for which 
we had fought so desperately and so long. 

The pride and pomp and all that sort of thing of war 
are seldom displayed — or should one say deployed ? 
— in campaign. The pursuit of an enemy, the life-and- 
death business of an active arm}', are not favorable to 
stage effects, certainly not to designed effects. But 
little gems often sparkle in the setting of bayonets 
that owe their value quite as much to what they 
mean as to what they are. During a mid-day rest 
at Nottoway Court-House, a group was gathered on 
the stoop or porch of the deserted tavern, which, 
except for the dusty undress uniforms, might well 
have been taken for a simple party of travellers. 
There was no parade, no display. The main road on 
which the troops were marching was not in immediate 
view. A few orderlies held the horses and attended to 
their wants. 

Some of the dozen men walked hither and thither, 
evidently unemployed. One or two were half asleep. 
One or two more were jotting down, or referring to, 
notes in little books. A sturdy, thoughtful, but cheer- 
ful-looking man, who seemed the head of the party, 
talked occasionally with others, who listened respect- 
fully, or replied, as the case might be. His voice, as 
caught, was low, but clear and gentle. There appeared 
in his manner, or in that of his companions, nothing to 
excite remark, certainly nothing to inspire awe ; and, 
above all, there was not the least token of parade, — 
no " fuss and feathers," no glitter and clash, such as 
the heroes of the books are often invested with. The 



240 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



most timid child would not have hesitated to ask a 
favor of that cigar-smoking, tawny-bearded, kindly- 
looking man, who was General Grant with his staff. 
A good share of the brains engaged in antagonizing the 
Rebellion spent an hour or two on that rust}' old tavern 
porch ; but no sign of tinsel was hung out, and no 
nerve -power was wasted in attitudes. 

The march that day was long ; but, about the middle 
of the afternoon, glad tidings came over from the other 
line ; and the despatch was read to the troops while in 
motion. The particulars are not vital now ; but so many 
men, so many generals, so many guns, were captured. 
As the head of each brigade reached a certain point, 
the despatch was read ; and it movent along with still 
livelier stride. Each command in turn gave the cheeK 
of thanksgiving ; and it was propagated by contagion 
front and rear. Those ahead renewed it, glad that 
others were sharing in the joy they just had felt. Those 
behind took it up, full of faith that there was good cause 
for the outburst. After a while, the}' seemed only to 
fear lest there would be no Rebels left for them to cap- 
ture. 

A few hours later the western sun looked full in the 
face of the moving column. The road, which there 
ran by the side of a forest, was filled with troops, who 
swung along with the free, full stride of men whose 
legs kept time to the quick-step of earnest hearts. The 
well-closed ranks, <the accoutrements in good condition, 
the square shoulders, and serious but hopeful faces be- 
neath the forage-caps, marked them veterans ; and tiie 
fairly-reflecting steel of the arms shone like a glory 
over the entire array. That magnificent mass of in- 
fantry, apparently without end, but presenting the same 
effectiveness, wherever viewed, looked the incarnation 
of resistless power. As far as the eye could reach, 
the curving country road was vivid with the lively, but 
not boisterous, blue and steel. On the left were green 
fields, cultivated and refreshing to the sight. On the 
right, the road was bordered by a forest, whose trees 



THE LAST WEEK. 



241 



were foil-grown and old. Through this forest, and by 
the side of this magnificent bod}', Generals Grant and 
Ord had been riding together ; and their well-mounted 
staffs and escorts formed a large and sprightly caval- 
cade, winding in and out between the trees, here com- 
paratively free from undergrowth. Their rattling sabres, 
and their greater vivacity, the more quickly-moving 
horses, and the occasional change of pace or direc- 
tion, gave more of the notion of mobility than the 
monotonous tramp, tramp, of the infantry. The swiftly- 
falling sun in the clear heavens threw shadows that 
magnified the originals into an army of giants ; while 
its direct rays glorified all they touched. Ord had just 
fallen back, and Grant was beginning to move ahead 
at a livelier gait J the mingled staffs had said good-by, 
and were again gathered into their proper groups ; the 
escorts had closed up in their respective places, — when 
from the right and rear, two tro6pers in the Rebel uni- 
form dashed out of the wood on literally foam-flecked 
horses. The} r were only two ; but to the outward eye 

* their dust} T gray clothes, their long hair and w T ilcl aspect, 
and their general appearance, indescribable, but typical 
of the Southern cavalry, marked them as unquestionably 
Rebels. But their bold and rapid advance directly up 
to the column declared them, although personalty un- 
recognized, as scouts. Inquiring for General Grant, 
they fairly pushed their horses to a run, in their eager- 
ness to overtake him when the squadron that followed 

| him was pointed out. Just as our part} T again came up, 
Grant, who had halted and read their despatch, imper- 
turbable as ever, turned to two of his staff : ' ' Colonel 

and Colonel , I wish }X)u to go with me." 

While a led horse was being prepared, he spoke a few 
words to his adjutant-general, and, before remounting, 
wrote a line or two, using a saddled horse as a desk. 
Meanwhile, the ceaseless stream of infantry was rolling 
by his side ; the lower and lower sun cast greater shad- 
ows from the huge trees, and still brighter beams from 
the polished barrels ; the great clusters of horsemen 
16 



242 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



again coalesced, full of chat and conjecture ; the hard- 
riding scouts at first loosened and then tightened their 
horses' girths and their own belts ; and then, just as 
the sun went down, the lieutenant-general and the two 
aids, with an orderly or two and the mysterious stran- 
gers, started off on a long trot directly through the dark- 
ening forest, at right angles to our line of march, and 
into a country which, if it held anything, held Rebels. 
They were going to the column ; for Grant had news 
from Sheridan. We had had a glirnpse of the romance 
of war. 

On Friday we reached Farmville. whose inhabitants, 
if not overjoyed to see us, at least were not openly 
hostile. Lee had been foiled in his effort to escape 
southward, and was exerting all his energy to gain 
Lynchburg. We, still in pursuit, were correspondingly 
elated ; and it was a matter of small moment who fell 
in love with us en route. Farmville very closely resem- 
bled those finished towns so common in some sections. 
One could almost see surrounding it the mythical fence J 
that is said to enclose and denote such completed vil- 
lages. A church was occupied for the night by the 
staff of General Ord. the general himself resting, by 
invitation, in the house of a citizen.. Among the cher- 
ished traditions of Revolutionary horrors in my birth- 
place is the story of the desecration by the British of 
the village church where mv ancestors preached. Cir- 
cumstances so altered the relation of things, that no 
qualm of conscience disturbed my repose that night on * 
the Farmville cushions. True, the red-coats used the 
one as permanent barracks, and introduced horses as 
well as men. We were heathen but for a single night; 
and our sacrilege was less physical than spiritual. Our 
horses were not admitted ; the building was opened by 
one of its own dignitaries : and we were scrupulous to 
inflict no unnecessary mischief. 

Diagonally opposite to the church, which was on a 
corner, was a young ladies' seminary, then in the midst 
of cultivation ; but the surly shutters remained imper- 



THE LAST WEEK. 



243 



vious to the levelled field-glasses, although a sanguine 
few fancied they saw signs of vitalit}', if not of hostil- 
ity, through an occasional crevice. 

Strangely enough, we were invited to tea by a gentle- 
man, who, if memory serves, made no profession of 
Union sentiments, but seemed actuated by pure, ab- 
stract hospitality. It may be that he looked upon it as 
a gentle species of bribery in the interest of his property 
against possible destruction ; for the Yankee name in- 
spired much awe among the untravelled natives. Be 
that as it may, he gave us a most capital supper, that 
was heartily enjoyed ; for we had eaten nothing since 
morning, and our wagons were in the unknown rear. 

All the troops passed through and beyond Farm- 
ville rapidty enough ; but, notwithstanding their ab- 
sence, the place was abundantly lively the next day. 
Both Grant and Ord had made head-quarters there ; 
Meade was not far off'; Sheridan halted there for a while ; 
and the aids and escorts, the officers and orderlies, 
filled the streets with much clatter and bustle. There 
was no more parade than at Nottoway ; but there was 
all that martial stir and tremor that necessarily marks 
the head-quarters of a great army at a critical time. 
Perhaps the most pronounced feature was a troop of 
Sheridan's scouts, two of whom have been previously 
mentioned. These, clad in gray, rode through the 
streets in the most approved frontier fashion ; and no 
horde of Texans ever looked wilder than these pseudo- 
Rebels, who did such good service for the National 
cause. And, while acknowledging their usefulness, it 
must be confessed that they were as cut-throat-foofow^r 
a gang a.* ever wore spurs. 

But Farmville is pre-eminently remembered by a com- 
ical incident, after this fashion. Falling into conversa- 
tion with the wife of a civil functionary (for the citizens 
were talkative enough), she finally said something to 
this effect : — 

"I do n't see what you Yankees want to come down 
here and take away all our negroes for." 



244 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



44 My dear madam, that is not our object. They will 
go off after the army, in many cases, I know ; but we 
are not here for that purpose." 

44 What do you suppose we are going to do without 
our servants." 

64 Indeed, I hope you will not lose all your servants." 

" Yes. we will ; I know we will ! I know they '11 all 
go off. And what do you suppose I will do then ? " 

4 4 I 'in sure that I hope they'll not all desert you; 
but, if the}' should, you can easily supply their places." 

44 No. They "11 all go. I know they will. And what 
do you think will become of me ? Do you think I will 
work?" 

" I can't imagine }~ou to be so unfortunate as not to 
be able to get any servants whatever." 

44 We won't, — I know we won't; they'll all go. 
And I? — do you suppose I will work? Indeed, I 
won't. Indeed. I won't work ! " 

44 1 can't believe that you will be so reduced ; for 
there must be some servants to be had at all times." 

44 1 tell you there won't be ; they '11 all go off. And 
do you think I '11 work ? I 've always had servants. 
Indeed. I won't work. Do you think I '11 do what I 've 
always had servants to do? Do you think I will cook? 
I shall do nothing of the sort. You come down here, 
and take all our servants away, and then expect me to 
work : indeed, I sha'n't." 

44 As I've said before, madam, I sincerely hope you 
will be able to obtain servants, if your own should 
leave ; and I can scarcely conceive that you should not. 
But suppose it should happen so that your own ser- 
vants should all go. and that you could get no assist- 
ance whatever, — that your picture should be realized, 
— under such circumstances, if 3^011 could get literally 
no one to help you. I presume you would really be" 
obliged to make your own bed, and to cook vour own 
food." 

44 Indeed, I won't. I don't care if they all go. 
What ! Do you suppose I will work ? I have alwa}*s 



THE LAST WEEK. 



245 



had servants. You may take them all away. Do you 
think I will work? Indeed, I shall do nothing of the 
kind." 

" But just imagine the case, madam. If you have 
no one, and can't possibly get any one, the question 
becomes very simple. It is either to do it one's self, 
or to go without ; and we know the consequences of 
going without. I am sure I hope you may not be so 
compelled ; but, since that would be the only alterna- 
tive, I am afraid you might have to do your own 
cooking." 

" Indeed, I won't. I've always had servants, and I 
won't work : and I do n't see what you Yankees want 
to come down here for, and take our servants away." 

To that style of argument, what could a man reply ? 

We did not overtake the column that had pushed 
ahead at an early hour, and with which Griffin's Fifth 
Corps was also marching, until after mid-day on Satur- 
* day. Even then, a long journey had been made ; and 
the men began to feel it, notwithstanding their elation 
of spirits ; but they persisted manfully. Towards night- 
fall, however, they naturally began to droop, for an all- 
day's march is no light thing. Then, riding along the 
ranks, Ord addressed them in pith}' little sentences : 
44 Legs will win this battle, men." " It rests with us to 
head them off." 4 4 This march will save all others." 
"Whichever army marches best wins." "The cam- 
paign is in your legs, men." "Good marching will 
carry it." " The}' can 't escape, if you will keep up to 
it." " One good steady march, and the campaign is 
ended." And, strenuously impressing upon the troops 
that, by getting ahead of them, they would corral the 
Rebels, that the termination of certainly the campaign, 
perhaps the war, was virtually vested in the endurance 
of their legs, — in other words, by conjoined appeals 
to their good sense and manly pride, — their flagging 
strength was stimulated ; and the weary troops were 
kept in motion. Presently, messages came from Sheri- 
dan, ahead, begging us to march to the utmost ; that if 



246 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



we could make a certain distance, the problem would 
be solved. Harris's brigade of Turner's division was 
in the lead, — magnificent athletes, who had been 
trained in the mountains of West Virginia and in the 
Valley ; and better marching infantry never did. It 
was ten o'clock that night before the troops went 
into bivouac ; but, just as we lay down, a fresh de- 
spatch from Sheridan announced that Custer had cap- 
tured a park of artillery and innumerable stores, and 
begged Ord to advance a little further, so that next 
morning might end it. The " assembly " rang out, the 
men fell in, and, weary almost to exhaustion, they 
staggered along up the road until past midnight. 
Another bivouac was made, with strict orders for the 
column to be stretched out at 3.30 a. m. But nature 
has a limit, and it was only by the strenuous personal 
exertions of the various general officers that we got in 
motion after daylight. About seven o'clock, a half- 
hour's halt was allowed for coffee, in the midst of which 
there was sharp firing ahead, and an urgent request for 
the immediate support of the infantry. 

It was worth the fatigue of the march to watch Sher- 
idan explaining the situation to Ord. The 44 battle-' 
light " is not a myth nor a figure of speech ; on that 
morning, it fairly transfigured Sheridan. His face in 
repose is impassive and not striking ; but, on the edge 
of the fight, he grew all aflame ; the transformation was 
absolute. It is no exaggeration to say, that, in its 
glow, one would scarcely recognize him as the same 
man ; but he did not lose his head. Excited, and 
quivering with enthusiasm, his mind grew keener, not 
tremulous ; his sentences were graphic, not confused. 
Although surrounded b}' woods, so that the eye ren- 
dered no aid, two minutes' conversation portrayed the 
situation as clearly as if mapped before us. General 
Ord gave his orders for the disposition of the troops ; 
and we rode forward to witness what had been so 
graphically depicted. Emerging from the woods, on 
the crest of a little bluff, a cleared basin lay before 



THE LAST WEEK. 



247 



us, out of which, and towards us, an immense num- 
ber of dismounted cavalry-men, leading their horses, 
were falling back. A strong Confederate skirmish- 
line, whose wings stretched well on each side of the 
main road, was in full view; two brass guns in action 
were conspicuous in the sunlight ; and distant trains, 
waiting to move on, revealed that at last we had 
come up w r ith the swift- footed foe. The Confed- 
erates seemed in high glee ; and well they might be, 
for the\ T appeared to have forced back the terrible 
cavalry, and to have a way to the mountains open 
before them. As we sat there, Sheridan, in a burst 
of personal daring and display, like the solitary flash 
of lightning before the storm, dashed off down the right 
to reconnoitre, directly in the face of the Rebels, and 
within their eas} 7 range. An orderly, bearing his crim- 
son and white standard, making him so much the more 
conspicuous, followed ; and his career seemed that of 
some storied knight, offering adventurous personal 
challenge, rather than a modern general, whose pre- 
sumed province was the cool and comprehensive over- 
sight of an army. But he knew his position ; and his 
apparent recklessness was not folly. 

We rode farther to the right ; and, again emerging 
from the screen of woods, the full field was displayed. 
The last of our cavalry had disappeared from its first 
position ; the Rebel guns were far down the opposite 
declivit}^ ; the strong skirmish-line was thrown w^ell for- 
ward and advancing ; the mass of the enemy was 
known to be but a little in its rear ; and the view pre- 
sented was that of a Confederate field-day. Just then, 
a loud report announced one of our own guns as open- 
ing. At the same instant, a return crackle was heard 
from the w T oods just before them ; and the Rebel skir- 
mishers halted. The legs had done their part, and our 
own infantry was at last engaged. Our skirmishers 
advanced, and the Rebels retired ; but their retiring was 
a master-piece of discipline. They fired u at will," fell 
back a few paces, fired again, made a momentary ad- 



248 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 

ranee, again fired, and again fell back, as orderly and 
methodically as if on parade. The brass guns likewise 
began to withdraw, then fired, then were run back, and 
so on, until finally the crest of the hill was reached. 
By this time, our full lines of battle had emerged from 
the timber. The Fifth Corps and the Arm}: of the 
James held the light and left respectively, with the 
centre between them, in common ; and the remounted 
cavalry massed on Griffin's right. Our artillery fired 
more rapidly, our skirmishers pressed forward with 
greater speed, the Rebel riflemen retired in haste, and 
the guns lingered for an instant on the ridge, as we 
began a general advance. 

The long lines swept silently forward, to possess the 
victory the}' were conscious awaited them. Many 
events prove historic, of the importance of which the 
participants are at the time ignorant : but. on that Sun- 
day morning, not a bayonet or a sabre but knew that 
the vitality of the Rebellion awaited its thrust. As we 
afterwards learned, the North had gone wild over the 
fall of Richmond ; but in the army, although the direct 
prize for which so many had fought so long, that was 
regarded as but an omen of ultimate success. While 
Lee and his forces were in the field, the real work was 
incomplete. Every man appreciated the consequences 
of the approaching action ; and there was not a soldier 
who had raced in the pursuit but realized that the crisis 
was at hand. The advance was magnificent. The im- 
mense wave of infantry, capped and sparkling with steel 
and colors, and preceded by its skirmish spray, rolled 
forward as steadily as the resistless sea. and with only 
the seething hiss of its own motion before the billow 
breaks. The great cloud of cavalry hung ready to pour 
its storm; the catastrophe was imminent. — but, just 
as the culmination was at hand, a shout ran down the 
line, and men's hearts beat wilder yet. A white flag 
rode out. Legs had won ! 

The flag bore a note from General Gordon, in our 
immediate front, asking a truce. General Ord, as the 



THE LAST WEEK. 



249 



senior present, granted it, until General Grant could be 
consulted. The lines were ordered to stand fast, the 
skirmishers serving as pickets. Presently, the ranking 
generals, on invitation, rode down to the Court-House 
near b}^ ; but, as Sheridan approached the Rebel lines, 
their pickets fired on him at short range. One expla- 
nation was, that, by an oversight, they had not been 
instructed as to the truce ; another, that the}' avowed 
themselves South Carolinians, and would therefore 
"never surrender. " Had one bullet struck, how that 
avalanche of cavalry on the neighboring ridge would 
have desolated the insurgents ! About noon, it was 
officially announced that the Arm}' of Northern Virginia 
would surrender. The pickets fraternized ; and, were 
it not for the restraints of discipline, the armies them- 
selves, to all appearance, would have coalesced. 

By a curious coincidence, the articles of the surrender 
were drawn up in the house of a gentleman whose 
former home was on the field of Bull Ran, and who had 
moved to this locality to avoid the region of active 
hostilities. How could he anticipate that the head- 
waters of the Appomattox would be the " last ditch," 
or that his new farm would witness the virtual close, as 
his old one had seen the first actual battle, of the war ! 

The hosts dispersed almost as rapidly as they had 
assembled. Promptly the next morning, Sheridan led 
the cavahy to Danville, and the Sixth Corps followed. 
Grant and Ord returned to tide- water immediately, and 
much the larger part of the troops were quickly marched 
away. Only enough remained to attend to the necessary 
formalities of the capitulation. Very few of those 
whose genius and valor accomplished it witnessed the 
actual surrender of the Rebels. When defeat is assured, 
the combatant victors are not the ones who exult in the 
humiliation of brave enemies. 

Excepting by those to whom the afflictions directly 
came, there appears to have been no proper apprecia- 
tion, at the North, of the daily casualties that blotted 
the calendar of that final week ; while, in fact, at Appo- 



250 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



mattox itself, the seals of the surrender were moistened 
with the blood of two hundred brave fellows, contem- 
plation of the result diverted popular attention from the 
road that led to it. 

Two incidents, ordinarily not noteworthy, seemed of 
special hardship on that ultimate day. One was, a 
Confederate gun still in position, on the Lynchburg 
highway, with a dead cannoneer lying by its trail. 
Constant to the last, the misguided but faithful Rebel 
clung to his post, sacrificed himself in his effort to 
secure for his comrades the one avenue of escape, and 
died just as resistance became hopeless, — a noble but 
unavailing victim for the cause he loved. The thought 
of Appomattox always brings before me that poor dead 
gunner, ashen and gray, lying alone and stark in the 
dusty road. 

The other was the case of a soldier of the Fifth New 
York, mortally wounded by almost the last, if not 
actually the last. Rebel fire. As he was borne off the 
field, the message of submission came in sight ; the 
cause he died for achieved its crowning triumph ; but 
he fell, another martyr, an apparently superfluous 
martyr, to the infernal Rebellion. He died in the arms 
of victory, ignorant that it was victory. The ranks 
closed up. — one man is not missed in a regiment. But 
all that he had he had given. He had given, as so 
many thousands gave. life. — had given it in faith and 
love. The sadness is not that he died. — we all were 
willing to die if need be. — but that he died when the 
victory was won. — Dr. Alfred A. Wood/hull. 

SHERIDAN DESCRIBES THE EXD. 

The resistance growing stubborn, a halt was called to 
get up Wheaton's division of the Sixth Corps, which went 
into position on the left of the road. Seymour being on 
the right. Wheaton was ordered to guide right, with 
his right connecting with Seymour's left and resting on 
the road. I still felt the great importance of pushing 



THE LAST WEEK. 



251 



the enemy, and was unwilling to wait for Getty's divis- 
ion of the Sixth Corps to get up. I therefore ordered 
an advance, sending word to General Humphreys, who 
was on the road to our right, and requesting him to 
push on, as I felt confident we could break up the enemy. 
It was apparent from the absence of artillery fire, and 
the manner in which they gave way, when pressed, that 
the force of the enemy opposed to us was a heav}' rear- 
guard. The enemy was driven until our lines reached 
Sailor's Creek ; and, from the north bank, I could see 
our cavalry on the high bank above the creek, and south 
of it, and the long line of smoke from the burning 
wagons. A cavalry-man, who, in a charge, cleared the 
enemy's works and came through their lines, reported 
to me what was in front. I regret that I have for- 
gotten the name of this gallant }'oung soldier. 

As soon as General Wright could get his artillery 
into position I ordered the attack to be made on the 
left, and sent Colonel Stagg's* brigade of cavalry to 
strike and flank the extreme right of the enemy's line. 

The attack by the infantry was not executed exactly 
as I had directed, and a portion of our line in the open 
ground was broken by the terrible fire of the enemy, 
who were in position on commanding ground south of 
the creek. 

This attack by Wheaton's and Seymour's divisions 
was splendid, but no more than I had reason to think 
from the gallant Sixth Corps. The cavahy in rear of 
the enemy attacked simultaneously, and the enemy, 
after a gallant resistance, were completely surrounded, 
and nearly all threw down their arms and surrendered. 

General Ewell, commanding the enenry's forces, and 
a number of other general officers, fell into our hands, 
and a very large number of prisoners 

On the 7th instant the pursuit was continued early 
in the morning b}- the cavalry, General Couch in the 
advance. It was discovered that the enemy had not 
been cut off by the Army of the James, and under the 
belief that he would attempt to escape on the Danville 



252 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



road through Prince Edward Court-House, General 
Merritt was ordered to move his two divisions to that 
point, passing around the left of the Army of the 
James. General Crook continued the direct pursuit, 
encountering the main body of the enemy at Farmville, 
and again on the north side of the Appomattox, where 
the enemy's trains were attacked by General Gregg, and 
a sharp fight with the enenry's infantry ensued, in which 
General Gregg was unfortunately captured. 

On arriving at Prince Edward Court-IIouse I found 
General McKenzie, with his division of cavalry from 
the Army of the James, and ordered him to cross the 
bridge on the Buffalo River and make a reconnoissance 
to Prospect Station on the Lynchburg Railroad, and 
ascertain if the enemy were moving past that point. 
Meantime I heard from General Crook that the enemy 
had crossed to the north side of the Appomattox, and 
General Merritt was then moved on and encamped at 
Buffalo Creek, and General Crook was ordered to re- 
cross the Appomattox and encamp at Prospect Station. 
On the morning of the 8th Merritt and McKenzie con- 
tinued the march to Prospect Station, and Merritt's 
and Crook's commands then moved on to Appomattox 
Court-House. Shortly after the march commenced, 
Sergeant White, one of my scouts, notified me that 
there were four trains of cars at Appomattox depot 
loaded with supplies for General Lee's army ; Generals 
Merritt and Crook were at once notified, and the com- 
mand pushed on briskly for twenty-eight miles. Gen- 
eral Custer had the advance, and on nearing the depot 
skilfully threw a force in rear of the trains and cap- 
tured them. Without halting a moment he pushed on, 
driving the enemy (who had reached the depot about 
the same time as our cavalry) in the direction of Appo- 
mattox Court-House, capturing many prisoners and 
twent}'-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and a 
large park of wagons. General Devin coming up, 
went in on the right of Custer. The fighting continued 
till after dark, and, the enemy being driven to Appo- 



THE LAST WEEK. 



253 



mattox Court-House, I at once notified the Lieutenant- 
General, and sent word to Generals Ord and Gibbon 
of the Army of the James, and General Griffin com- 
manding the Fifth Corps, who were in rear, that, if they 
pressed on, there was now no means of escape for the 
enemy, who had reached u the last ditch." During 
the night, although we knew that the remnant of Lee's 
arm}' was in our front, we held fast with the cavalry to 
what we had gained, and ran the captured trains back 
along the railroad to a point where they would be pro- 
tected by our infantry that was coming up. The 
Twenty-fourth and Fifth Corps and one division of the 
Twenty-fifth Corps arrived about daylight on the 9th at 
Appomattox depot. 

After consulting with General Ord, who was in com- 
mand of these corps, I rode to the front, near Appo- 
mattox Court-House, and just as the enemy in heavy 
force was attacking the cavalry with the intention of 
breaking through our lines, I directed the cavalry, 
which was dismounted, to fall back, gradually resist- 
ing the enemy, so as to give time for the infantry to 
form its lines and march to the attack, and, when this 
was done, to move off to the right flank and mount. 
This was done, and the enemy discontinued his attack 
as soon as he caught sight of our infantry. I moved 
briskly around the left of the enemy's line of battle, 
and was about to charge the trains and the confused 
mass of the enemy, when a white flag was presented to 
General Custer, who had the advance, and who sent 
the information to me at once that the enemy desired to 
surrender. — Gen. Phil. Sheridan. 

THE FIGHT OF APRIL 6TH. 

The night of the 1st of April, 1865, was occupied by 
the Sixth Corps in preparation for a general assault on 
the enemy's lines below Petersburg. The brigades 
were formed in columns of attack, preceded by a band 
of pioneers and a heavy skirmish line. In our brigade, 



254 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



the pioneers were under the direction of Sergeant 
Tracy, and the skirmish line was commanded by Cap- 
tain J. C. Robinson. Both these officers were of the 
Thirty-seventh. The skirmish line was composed en- 
tirety of men detailed from the Thirty-seventh. The 
Thirty-seventh itself occupying the front 'line of battle 
in the brigade. While cutting away the abatis in front 
of the enemy's forts, the pioneers suffered severely. 
Sergeant Tracy was early disabled by a ball passing 
through his leg. He did not leave the field, but, lying 
on his side, he still directed the movements of his 
men. While thus engaged, a second ball shattered his 
knee-joint. Captain Robinson charged, at the head of 
his skirmishers, through the abatis, when he was 
wounded and had to be borne back. The colors of the 
Thirty- seventh were the first in the division to wave 
over the Rebel works. The Rebels fired their last voi- 
le}' as the regiment climbed from the ditch to the para- 
pet. Many personal encounters ensued. Captain 
Champney was foremost in entering the fort, and was 
indefatigable in preventing the escape of any Rebels. 
Sergeant Boston, of Company F, rushed on a brawny 
gray-back, and disarmed him at a single pass of his 
weapon. Corporal Welch, of Company E, succeeded 
in wresting a battle-flag from a Rebel color-bearer, and 
was rewarded with a medal. From the fort, we pushed 
on towards the left until we met the troops of the other 
brigade, and then forward to the Southside Railroad. 
We alone, of the Sixth Corps, entered Petersburg the 
next morning. Colonel Edwards received the surren- 
der of the place. In this engagement, we lost three 
killed and thirty-three wounded. Among the latter 
were Captain Robinson, and Lieutenants Waterman 
and Sheldon. 

Constant marching and countermarching for four 
days carried us over seventy miles of country, and 
found us again in front of the enemy in the neighbor- 
hood of Sailor's Creek. The morning of the 6th we 
were at Amelia Court- House. At noon we had made a 



THE LAST WEEK. 



255 



march of twent}'-five miles, double-quicking nearly eight 
miles of the way, and were confronting the enemy, with 
a deep stream between us. Our brigade was on the 
extreme right of the line, and the Thirty-seventh occu- 
pied the left of the brigade. Rushing like an avalanche 
across Sailor's Creek, where the water was up to our 
arm-pits, we dislodged the enemy from the opposite 
bank, and drove them over t2ie crest of the hill. 

Beyond the stream for a quarter of a mile, we ad- 
vanced through a thick growth of underbrush, fighting 
as we went. The firing waxed hotter and hotter, until 
suddenly we found, to our dismay, that the regiment on 
our right had given way, and the brigade on our left 
had broken the connection, and halted some distance 
back. We were lost to our friends. Our nearest 
neighbor was our foe. The Rebels came pouring down 
upon us, and within a few seconds had attacked and 
enveloped both flanks of the regiment. A hand-to- 
hand conflict ensued. Many men were wounded with 
the bayonet, and pistol-shots were freely exchanged. 
Adjutant Bradley, in endeavoring to stem the torrent 
of their attack upon the right flank, closed with a Rebel 
captain, received a shot from the captain's pistol 
through the shoulder, wrested the pistol from his hand, 
was shot through both legs by a Rebel soldier, who 
thought it time to interfere, while one of our men in a 
like spirit, and with a surer aim, plunged a ball through 
the body of the captain, killing him instantly. Cor- 
poral Walker, of Company H, had a ba}~onet tilt with a 
stalwart Rebel. The latter had the advantage in pos- 
sessing the longer weapon (Spencer rifles are hardly 
equal, to Springfielcls in crossing bayonets), still, in 
spite of this disadvantage, the corporal succeeded in dis- 
arming his antagonist, and compelled him to surrender. 
Captain Chandley was the centre of a bloody struggle. 
Two of the Rebels and two of our own men fell fight- 
ing around his person. One of our sergeants rushed to 
the front and endeavored to seize a stand of colors. 
He was instantly shot dead. Private Taggert, of 



256 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



Company B, saw him fall, darted from the line, and 
bore away the prize through the smoke of battle. 
Meanwhile, the Spencer rifle was working the havoc 
for which it was intended. All down the front of our 
regiment, the gaps that our fire opened in the enemy's 
ranks were fearful. They had started to attack us 
massed in heavy columns. Scattered fragments only 
reached us. They came, throwing down their guns, 
raising their hands, and imploring the cessation of the 
fire. After the battle, more than seventy corpses 
were counted on the ground in our immediate front. 
And when we consider that the proportion of the 
slain to the disabled on the field of battle is usually 
only as one to six. it will be seen that the carnage 
was terrific. Among the prisoners who fell into our 
hands was Major-Genera 1 Custis Lee. the son of the 
commander-in-chief of the Rebel, armies. We lost 
in this engagement eight men killed and thirty-one 
wounded. Among the latter. Captain Smith. Adjutant 
Bradley, and Lieutenant Cushman. Among the killed 
were Ezra D. Cowles, First Sergeant of Company D, 
and Sergeant Bolton, of Company C. Sergeant Cowles 
excited the admiration of all who saw him by his hero- 
ism. He was mortally wounded early in the engage- 
ment, but, instead of caring for himself, or allowing 
others to minister to him. he encouraged all around 
him 44 to fight," and. with his life-blood flowing away, 
shamed those who would give over the battle for lost. — 
Col. Edwards in Gen. Schoulers Report. 

THE BATTLE OF HIGH BRIDGE. 

Early in the 6th of April, in compliance with orders 
received the night previous, Colonel Washburn, with 
two regiments of infantry, each about four hundred 
strong, and a part of his own force of cavalry, number- 
ing thirteen officers and sixty-seven men. started to 
destroy High Bridge, eighteen miles distant, and of 
great importance to the retreating Rebel army. The 



THE LAST WEEK. 



257 



bridge was reached about noon, the enemy offering 
feeble resistance to his advance. The infantry were 
halted in the vicinity of the bridge, while the cavalry 
pushed on two miles further, meeting a superior force 
of the enen^'s cavalry, with artillery. A short time 
before the bridge was reached, Brevet Brig. -Gen. 
Theodore Read arrived, with orders to hold, and not 
destroy, the bridge. He took command. The cavalry 
retired to the bridge, and found the infant^ warmlv 
engaged with another force of the enemy's cavalry, and 
showing signs of breaking. It was soon evident that 
the enemy was superior in numbers, and that a fight at 
long range could not be maintained until General Ord 
should be apprised of their situation and should send 
infantry — the only troops he had — to their relief. 

Thus situated between two forces of the enenry, — 
the larger between him and the Army of the James, — 
to charge and break through the enemy, if possible, 
seemed the only honorable oourse for General Read to 
take ; no other was suggested. 

Twice the cavalry charged, breaking through and 
dispersing one line of the enemy, re-forming and char- 
ging a second, which was formed in a wood too dense to 
admit of free use of the sabre. In vain, however ; eight 
of twelve officers engaged were put hors du combat,-^ 
three killed and five severely wounded. The little 
band was hemmed in and overpowered by two divisions 
of cavalry, — Rosser's and Fitz Hugh Lee's, — the 
advance of General Lee's army. 

Colonel Washburn, whose intrepid bravery in this 
fight endears his name to his associates, and adds the 
crowning glory to a life elevated by the purest patriot- 
ism, died a few weeks afterwards from the effect of his 
wounds. Because of the influence of the affair upon 
the results of the campaign I have dwelt upon it. 

" To the sharpness of that fight," said a Rebel colo- 
nel, inspector-general on Lee's staff, to General Ord, 
" the cutting off of Lee's army at Appomattox Court- 
House was probably owing." So fierce were the charges 
17 



258 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



of Colonel Washburn and his men, and so determined 
their fighting, that General Lee received the impres- 
sion that they must be supported by a large part of the 
army, gave what the inspector-general called " stamped- 
ing orders," and began to throw up the line of breast- 
works which were found there the next day. Three 
trains of provisions, forage, and clothing, which had 
been sent down from Lynchburg on the Southside 
road, were sent back to prevent their falling into our 
hands, and his army, which was on third rations, and 
those of corn only, was thus deprived of the provisions 
the want of which exhausted them so much. 

Moreover, by the delay occasioned by this halt, Gen- 
eral Sheridan was enabled to come up with Ewell's 
division at Sailor's Creek. When Lee discovered his 
mistake, and that the fighting force in his front was 
only a small detachment of cavalry and infantry. Gen- 
eral Ord, with the Army of the James, had already 
profited by the delay,' and so closed up with him that a 
retreat directly south was no longer practicable ; he 
was obliged to make the detour by way of Appomattox 
Court-House. General Rosser concurs in this opinion, 
and states that the importance of the fight has never 
been appreciated. — General Schouler. 

THE REBEL ARMY. 

When at last the beginning of the end came, in the 
evacuation of Richmond and the effort to retreat, every- 
thing seemed to go to pieces at once. The best disci- 
plinarians in the army relaxed their reins. The best 
troops became disorganized, and hardly any command 
marched in a body. Companies were mixed together, 
parts of each being separated by detachments of others. 
Flying citizens, in vehicles of every conceivable sort, 
accompanied and embarrassed the columns. Many com- 
mands marched heedlessly on without orders, and seem- 
ing^ without a thought of whither they were going. 
Others mistook the meaning of their instructions, which 



THE LAST WEEK. 



259 



it was impossible to obey in any case. At Amelia Court- 
House we should have found provisions. General Lee 
had ordered a train load to meet him there, but the inter- 
ests of the starving army had been sacrificed to the 
convenience or the cowardice of the President and his 
personal following. The train had been hurried on to 
Richmond and its precious cargo of food thrown out 
there, in order that Mr. Davis and his people might 
retreat rapidly and comfortably from the abandoned 
capital. Then began the desertion of which we have 
heard so much. Up to that time, as far as I can learn, 
if desertions had occurred at all, they had not become 
general ; but now that the government, in flying from 
the foe, had cut off our supply of provisions, what were 
the men to do ? Many others followed the example of 
the government, and fled ; but a singularly large propor- 
tion of the little whole stayed and starved to the last. 
And it was no technical or metaphorical starvation 
which we had to endure, either, as a brief statement of 
my own experience will show. The battery to which I 
was attached was captured near Amelia Court-House, 
and within a mile or two of my home. Seven men only 
escaped, and, as I knew intimately everybody in the 
neighborhood, I had no trouble in getting horses for 
these to ride. Applying to General Lee in person for 
instructions. I was ordered to march on, using my own 
judgment, and rendering what service I could in the 
event of a battle. In this independent fashion I marched, 
with much better chances than most of the men had to 
get food, and yet during three days and nights our total 
supply consisted of one ear of corn to the man, and we 
divided that with our horses. — Capt. G. C. Eggleston of 
the Confederate Army. 

SHERIDAN AT FIVE FORKS. 

A colonel with a shattered regiment came down upon 
us in a charge. The bayonets were fixed, the men came 
on with a }'ell. Their gray uniform seemed black amid 



260 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



the smoke. Their preserved colors, torn by grape and 
ball, waved defiantly. Twice the}' halted, and poured 
in vollej's, but came on again like the surge from the 
fog, depleted, but determined. Yet in the hot faces of 
the carabineers they read a purpose as resolute, but 
more calm ; and while they pressed along, swept all the 
while by scathing volleys, a group of horsemen took 
them in the flank. 

It was an awful instant. The horses recoiled ; the 
charging column trembled like a single thing : but at 
once the Rebels, with rare organization, fell into a hol- 
low square, and with solid sheets of steel defied our 
centaurs. The horsemen rode around them in vain: 
no charge could break the shining squares till our dis- 
mounted carabineers poured in their volleys afresh, mak- 
ing gaps in their spent ranks ; and then in their waving 
line the cavalry thundered down. The Rebels could 
stand no more ; they reeled and swayed, and fell back, 
broken and beaten ; and on the ground their colonel 
lay sealing his devotion with his life. — N. T. World. 

JEFFERSOX DAVIS'S FLIGHT. 

He was at church on Sunday morning. The minister 
was preaching, when an orderly entered, and handed a 
note to the President of the Confederac} T . It was a 
despatch from Lee, that his lines were broken in three 
places, and that Richmond must be evacuated. It was 
as if a hand had written once more, ik Mene, mene, 
tekel .... Thou art weighed and found wanting ; 
thy kingdom is divided." He turned pale ; but, taking 
his hat, he hurriedly left the church. The hour of 
twelve came. The people, as they passed the Capitol 
on their way home from church, saw men hurriedly bring- 
ing out the state papers, piling them upon the ground, 
and setting them on fire. It was the first intimation 
they had that the city was to be evacuated. — Mrs, 
Hanaford. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



THE END. 



ND so the war was done. And may the good 



God grant that it shall be ten million billion 
years before anybody proposes another like it. 
As for the Rebel soldiers they went home. They 
were soured and disappointed, but at the bottom of 
their hearts they were glad the fighting was over. 
Some one asked if they were to give up their 
horses. " No," said General Grant, " they will 
want their horses to plough the land. Let them 
take their horses." There is a great deal of phi- 
losophy in this word of the great soldier, and there 
is a vein of humor in it too, as there is in most 
philosophy. So they took their horses and went 
home. 

As for the Union army, it was determined than 
both the great divisions, that of Meade and that 
of Sherman, should pass through the city of 
Washington, and, in a grand review, should receive 
a sort of farewell from the President before they 
were dismissed to their homes. 




262 STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



This review is thus described by General Sher 
man. Nor could I find a better last " Story of the 
War " than that which is told so well by this great 
soldier. 

During the afternoou and night of the 23d, the 
Fifteenth. Seventeenth, and Twentieth Corps crossed 
Long Bridge, bivouacked in the streets about the Cap- 
itol, and the Fourteenth Corps closed up to the bridge. 
The morning of the 24th was extremely beautiful, and 
the ground was in splendid order for our review. The 
streets were filled with people to see the pageant, armed 
with bouquets of flowers for their favorite regiments or 
heroes, and everything was propitious. Punctually at 
nine a. m. the signal gun was fired, when in person, 
attended by General Howard and all my staff, I rode 
slowly down Pennsylvania Avenue, the crowds of men, 
women, and children densely lining the sidewalks, and 
almost obstructing the way. We were followed close 
by General Logan and the head of the Fifteenth Corps. 
When I reached the Treasury-building, and looked 
back, the sight was simply magnificent. The column 
was compact, and the glittering muskets looked like a 
solid mass of steel, moving with the regularity of a 
pendulum. We passed the Treasury-building, in front 
of which and of the White House was an immense 
throng of people, for whom extensive stands had been 
prepared on both sides of the Avenue. As I neared the 
brick house opposite the lower corner of Lafayette 
Square, some one asked me to notice Mr. Seward, who, 
still feeble and bandaged for his wounds, had been 
removed there that he might behold the troops. I 
moved in that direction and took off my hat to Mr. 
Seward, who sat at an upper window. He recognized 
the salute, returned it. and then we rode on steadily 
past the President, saluting with our swords. All on 
his stand arose and acknowledged the salute. Then, 
turning into the gate of the Presidential grounds, we 



THE END. 



263 



left our horses with orderlies, and went upon the stand, 
where I found Mrs. Sherman, with her father and son. 
Passing them, I shook hands with the President, Gen- 
eral Grant, and each member of the Cabinet. I then 
took my post on the left of the President, and for six 
hours and a half stood, while the army passed in the 
order of the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Twentieth, and 
Fourteenth Corps. It was, in my judgment, the most 
magnificent army in existence — sixty-five thousand 
men, in splendid physique, who had just completed a 
march of nearly two thousand miles in a hostile country, 
in good drill, and who realized that they were being 
closely scrutinized by thousands of their fellow-country- 
men and by foreigners. Division after division passed, 
each commander of an army corps or division coming 
on the stand during the passage of his command, to be 
presented to the President, Cabinet, and spectators. 
The steadiness and firmness of the tread, the careful 
dress of the guides, the uniform intervals between the 
companies, all eyes directly to the front, and the tat- 
tered and bullet-riven flags, festooned with flowers, all 
attracted universal notice. Many good people, up to 
that time, had looked upon our Western arm}' as a sort 
of mob ; but the world then saw, and recognized the 
fact, that it was an army in the proper sense, well 
organized, well commanded and disciplined ; and there 
was no wonder that it had swept through the South like 
a tornado. For six hours and a half that strong tread 
of the Army of the West resounded along Pennsylvania 
Avenue ; not a soul of that vast crowd of spectators 
left his place ; and when the rear of the column had 
passed by, thousands of the spectators still lingered to 
express their sense of confidence in the strength of a 
government which could claim such an army. 

Some little scenes enlivened the da}', and called for 
the laughter and cheers of the crowd. Each division 
was followed by six ambulances, as a representative of 
its baggage-train. Some of the division commanders 
had added, by way of variety, goats, milch-cows, and 



264 



STORIES TOLD BY SOLDIERS. 



pack-mules, whose loads consisted of game-cocks, poul- 
try, hams. etc.. and some of them had the families of 
freed slaves along, with the women leading their chil- 
dren. Each division was preceded by its corps of black 
pioneers, armed with picks and spades. These marched 
abreast in double ranks, keeping perfect dress and step, 
and added much to the interest of the occasion. On 
the whole, the grand review was a splendid success, 
and was a fitting conclusion to the campaign and the 
war. — Gen. Sherman. 



University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



Q